Lab: Galit Lahav

Home town: Cuernavaca, Mexico

Undergraduate School: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, where I majored in genomics!

Definition of systems biology: The whole is more (or less) than the sum of the parts. Our attempt two understand how interactions among components give rise to complex behavior at any scale in biology.

Growing up, I was always interested in becoming a scientist, even though I really didn't understand what this means. I joined a research oriented program as an undergraduate student, during which I participated in computational research projects aiming to characterize large-scale genomic rearrangements in genomes from healthy individuals and tumors. In the latter, I got interested in understanding the way and extent to which co-ocurrence of particular mutational events could inform us about their synergism during tumor evolution. When joining the PhD program in Systems Biology at Harvard University, I was interested in questions regarding the way biological systems sense, filter and store information from their environment and integrate such information during processes that that regulate their behavior. I was particularly excited by the perspective of faculty members in the program on this and other questions, and the possibility to address them through the quantitative analysis and interpretation of experimental results.

Currently, I'm a member of Galit Lahav's lab in Harvard Medical School. I'm trying to understand the way human cells transition from a reversible to an irreversible form of arrest when exposed to DNA damage. During the past three years in the PhD program, I've had the opportunity to meet and befriend fellow students, post-docs and faculty that have truly influenced my perspective on scientific problems that I was already interested in, and questions that I hadn't payed close attention to. They are also a lot of fun to be around. So far, the life of a scientist suits me. I would like to pursue an academic path in the upcoming years.