Kathia Rodarte, Ph.D. candidate in Genetics, Development and Disease at UT Southwestern and BUILDing SCHOLARS alumna, was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) diversity pre-doctoral fellowship. The award was granted by the National Cancer Institute to support her graduate research in cancer. For her project, titled “Determining the role of ASCL1 in neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC)”, she will be using NEPC cell lines, patient-derived xenografts, and mouse prostate organoids to determine if ASCL1, a protein coding gene, is required for prostate adenocarcinoma to transition to NEPC. She will be working with her mentor, Dr. Jane Johnson, to identify gene programs regulated by ASCL1 to reveal vulnerabilities and mechanisms underlying neuroendocrine cancers.

Ms. Rodarte graduated from UTEP in Spring 2018 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences. Her undergraduate research was mentored by Dr. Marc Cox, and she also participated in summer research programs at the University of Baylor College of Medicine and at the National Institutes of Health.


Danielle Morales, Ph.D., has been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation to study the effects of mentoring relationships in undergraduate research experiences on student success. Dr. Morales serves on the Leadership Committee for BUILDing SCHOLARS, as one of the heads of the Research Enrichment Core. She is a professor of sociology whose research focuses on undergraduate research experiences in typically underrepresented populations and environmental justice.


Diego Seira, a graduate research assistant for the BUILDing SCHOLARS Research Enrichment Core, has been awarded a National Institutes of Health fellowship. He will be working in the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the Research Participation Program under the Emerging Leaders in Data Science Fellowship. Congratulations Diego!

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