Brenda Gonzalez

2022 IRACDA Corhort

I am a first-generation Mexican American, and I grew up in Indiana. I am in the first generation of my family to pursue higher education, and the first to obtain a PhD. With the mentorship from one of my science teachers, I started doing research with a professor at Purdue when I was a senior in high school studying the bacterial genetics of solute transporters implicated in osmolarity regulation. This experience piqued my interest in biological sciences, leading me to obtain my BS in Biochemistry from Purdue in 2015. I then did a year-long Postbaccalaureate research experience at the University of Iowa in the Englehardt lab working on a project  investigating the role of CFTR in lysosomal acidification using live cell imaging. I then matriculated into the Purdue Biological Sciences PhD Program, where I joined the Jiang Lab. During my PhD training, I studied the structure of a large bacterial virus, phage G, using single-particle cryo-EM and computational methods. Now in the Gonen lab at UCLA, I hope to expand my skill set in cryo-EM, and learn about crystallography and membrane protein biochemistry. Through IRACDA, I hope to learn about teaching in higher education and participate in scientific outreach activities that support underrepresented minorities in STEM.