I was born in Bogota, Colombia, before my family moved to the United States. As an English/Spanish bilingual dual-citizen of both countries, I enjoy revisiting Colombia to enjoy time with family and friends. Growing up, I had strong interests in both art/design and science, which is why Leonardo da Vinci is my favorite historical figure (a polymath inventor, scientist, anatomist, and artist!) and I studied graphic design at the Pratt Institute before ultimately enrolling at Texas A&M University to study engineering. Today, I use my artist's eye to carefully communicate technical and scientific concepts to broad audiences. My passion is to help others enjoy and understand science through research, mentorship, and teaching.
I began my career as a chemical engineer at Fortune 50 company, PepsiCo in Global R&D. Working on various projects scaling up food processes and investigating fundamental research about food materials, I learned how to lead global, multi-disciplinary teams and projects while also practicing experimental research at manufacturing plants. Ultimately, my interest in healthcare solutions and medicine led me to departing from my career at Pepsi to study at the School of Medicine at University of Washington for my PhD in Bioengineering.
At the University of Washington and Institute for Systems Biology, I am co-advised by Leroy Hood, MD, PhD; Sean Gibbons, PhD; Nathan Price, PhD; and my Committee Chair is Hao Yuan Kueh, PhD. I am investigating the Gut-Brain-Axis (GBA) and the microbiome's roles in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative disorders. My early research uses multi-omics data (genomics, metabolomics, proteomics, and gut microbiome) to understand the molecular phenotype potentially driven by pre-clinical symptoms and risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. Specifically, I am looking at reported constipation symptoms and presence of the apolipoprotein E4 allele (APOE4; known to increase AD risk by 11x) as potential drivers of blood plasma serum metabolomics and gut taxa differences between these groups of participants in the Arivale Scientific Wellness Study (Arivale).
When I am not studying bioengineering, my hobbies include visiting the beach (Golden Gardens!), graphic design, digital art and sketching, cooking, visiting new countries, playing video games, and exploring the gorgeous scenery of the Pacific Northwest.