TAMIU Student, Faculty Spend Time with Top Geneticists
This summer, two members of the Texas A&M International University
community traveled to Bethesda, MD to learn from some of the most distinguished
scientists in the world.
Dr. Mario García-Ríos, associate professor, was invited
by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) to participate in the 2004 Current Topics in
Genomic Research "Short Course." Cesar Bañuelos, '04,
participated in the Genome Scholars Program. (photo)
Dr. García-Ríos explained this was a very special and
"Only 16 faculty members from across the country were selected
to participate in the short course. We met with legendary researchers
such as Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NHGRI. I consider him the
heir to the throne of Dr. Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the DNA double
helix," said García-Ríos.
He explained such short courses like that offered by NHGRI are vital
to scientists, especially those in more isolated locations like Laredo.
"Unless you go to these courses, you will be out of touch with
the field. The course ensures we are teaching state of the art techniques
to our students at TAMIU. NIH is the premier biomedical research institute
in the world; no other place does so much for the field," he said.
In addition to lectures by top geneticists, faculty attendees received
the latest texts with the most current findings. Participants were also
able to visit labs and talk to patients.
"The NIH has clinics that deal with rare and chronic diseases and
the major killers such as cancer and diabetes. They are using genetic
techniques to help these people," explained García-Ríos.
Bañuelos, the student selected to accompany García-Ríos,
said his horizons were greatly expanded by the trip.
"My most important discovery was there is so much diversity, so
many other jobs. Parents and society, when they hear you're going into
biology, they say you should be a doctor, but there are so many other
options, such as a Ph.D., or genetic counseling," said Bañuelos,
"It's awesome being with all these people who have done so much to
Bañuelos is currently applying to medical school in Texas, but
hasn't ruled out eventually getting a Ph.D. as well as his medical degree,
a combination presenters such as Dr. Collins have.
"It's eight more years of school, but I learned there is money
out there to do research, so many chances to do good," said Bañuelos.
Indicating a graphic representing the work of the Human Genome Project
as the stone flooring of a building, Bañuelos said, "The first
floor of the building has been built. We can be part of history by working
at the NIH."
For more information about the Short Course or genetics at TAMIU, please
contact García-Ríos at 326.2585, visit offices in the Dr.
F.M. Canseco Building, room 313C, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
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