Innovation Starts Here – Genaro Hernandez

Innovation Starts Here – Genaro Hernandez

photo: Genaro Hernandez in the laboratoryWith two years of research, five presentations and the co-authorship of a journal manuscript under his belt, Genaro Hernandez might be mistaken for a graduate student or even a Ph.D. candidate. But no, Genaro is a talented, single-minded undergraduate now in his fifth semester at SDSU.

The cell and molecular biology major transferred from Southwestern College into San Diego State’s MBRS/IMSD program—an initiative funded by the National Institutes for Health and designed to prepare underserved students for direct entry into biomedical or behavioral Ph.D. programs.

At SDSU, Genaro conducts research in the Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center under the guidance of Roberta Gottlieb, M.D., the center director, and Allen Andres, a post-doctoral fellow with a Ph.D. from San Diego State.

SDSU researchers such as Gottlieb bring in more than $140 million annually in competitive grants and contracts. But their vital work also depends on generous donors—such as philanthropist Darlene Shiley, who contributed a $5 million naming gift to the Shiley BioScience Center in memory of her husband, co-inventor of the life-saving Bjork-Shiley artificial heart valve.

The Shiley BioScience Center is the only facility where researchers study the link between heart disease and inflammation resulting from infection. Their work combines basic science investigation, public health studies and technology development to advance our understanding of chronic illness.

Cutting-edge facilities such as the Shiley BioScience Center provide opportunities for SDSU students like Genaro to participate in basic research at the undergraduate level. Genaro’s experience has fueled his ambition to obtain an MD/PhD in biomedical sciences, conduct translational research and mentor students like himself, who are driven to help those suffering from metabolic and cardiac diseases.

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