Carolina Hernandez

Carolina_Hernandez

My name is Carolina Hernandez, I'm 27 years old and I'm from Bogotá Colombia. I studied Biomedical Engineering at Universidad de Los Andes.

How to get to know this grant

When I finished my bachelor's I decided to go to the USA to improve my English skills, so I got enrolled in the EPI (English program for Internationals) at the University of South Carolina. After 6 months, I went back to Colombia, but I felt that I had to do more to improve my skills, so I applied for a visiting scholar internship in Germany, for which I got accepted at the ISD Research centrum to study neurodegenerative dementias and a new experimental model in Mice. Meanwhile, I got accepted at the Universitat de Barcelona where I did a 1-year Master in Translational Medicine and neurodegenerative dementia.  My main focus during this year was on the development of biomarkers for Neurodegenerative dementias leading to a better diagnosis. After my Master's, I decided to go back to Colombia to get some experience in the Medical Industry. For that reason, in 2019, I got hired to work for Pfizer (very convenient during the pandemic) in the area of Regulatory Affairs for 2 and a half years. During this period, I started to think about the next step in my career and after many months of consideration, I decided to search for a Ph.D. opportunity abroad.

After many days of searching, I found the advertisement for a Ph.D. position in the Evidence project on LinkedIn through RR Mechatronics and I felt that my skills and motivation were ideally suited to the position.  Furthermore, I felt that the position will give me the skills to continue my career and also to hopefully make a big impact on the patients' lives as I always have pursued.

Reason for joining

After many days of searching, I found the advertisement for a Ph.D. position in the Evidence project on LinkedIn through RR Mechatronics and I felt that my skills and motivation were ideally suited to the position.  Furthermore, I felt that the position will give me the skills to continue my career and also to hopefully make a big impact on the patients' lives as I always have pursued.

The purpose of my Ph.D. is to study, understand and measure the susceptibility of every individual to the presence of oxidative stress. As is known the disbalance in the reactive oxygen species leads to oxidative stress but this is not always intended to be harmful to the cells. For example, this process is used to kill certain types of pathogens.  

Moreover, oxidative stress  is especially harmful to red blood cells since the lack of a nucleus reduces the pathways to balance the production of oxidants and antioxidants, even more to those who had certain pathologies such as Favism( G6PDd),  SCD( sickle cell disease), Thalassemia, Covid, and going through the process of sepsis. For this reason, the development of a method to diagnose the grade of susceptibility to affront this process is needed, not just to prevent it but also to probe new drugs that can improve the patient's quality of life.

Expectations

I enrolled in this program in December of 2021 and unfortunately, since the covid restrictions, I haven't been able to meet the other colleagues from the EVIDENCE project. Even though, through this time I have been able to see how the program works and adapts to every change, offering different alternatives to improve the connections and collaboration between groups. This is proof that the EVIDENCE group has a strong base to support the Ph.D. candidates even when the conditions are unfavorable. I hope the restrictions will decrease soon enough to meet my colleagues, start networking and secondments as planned.