“Research is not an obstacle, it is a tool to communicate from our point-of-view how we can contribute to the development and education in our country,” said Dr. Mariana Quiroz-Muñoz, MD, who earned her doctorate in Medical Sciences in The CARE Chile UC, and did her dissertation, in part, in the laboratory of Dr. Carlos Vio and Dr. Nick Ferreri in the United States.
She is now in New York doing a postdoctoral fellowship at NYU Medical Center in Manhattan on bone physiology and repair mechanisms associated with mechanosensitivity damage, and from where she answers our questions about her professional development.
-What was your dissertation for a doctorate in medical sciences?
-My dissertation was about how the prostaglandin EP3 receptor, located in a kidney-specific cell type, called the ascending loop of Henle, could bind to prostaglandin E2, producing an effect on diuresis (excreted urine) in an animal model. This was interesting because we could see that prostaglandins E2 in the kidney, which are molecules synthesized by the enzyme cyclooxygenase, had a physiological function on water balance, which is critical for the function of the human body, and that the use of anti-inflammatories such as Celecoxib, which inhibit cyclooxygenase, and hence the production of prostaglandins, may also influence the retention of liquid and sodium.
– How was your experience working on your dissertation in Santiago with Dr. Carlos Vio and in New York with Dr. Nick Ferreri?
-It was an interesting and very good experience since I had the privilege of working with two experts in the field who not only taught me a lot about renal physiology but also taught me to think and express myself when writing publications or grants. Additionally, they taught me a lot about the importance of simplicity and “minimalism” when designing experiments and focusing on clear ideas. Both are professionals with long years in this area of research and I was fortunate with the confidence and the training that they gave me.
– What were the central points of the speech that you gave in the name of the 150 doctors who graduated last December 5th?
-The testimony of my experience through the doctorate focused on the fact that, at the end of this process and observing it from the outside, I believe that obtaining this academic degree was a privilege, and like everything in life, gifts are received with humility.
Belonging to a Doctorate Program made us part of a training and an institution that nourished us with intellectual and personal tools, such as the development of resilience and resistance. But it is a chapter of our history and the end of our history as formal students, and with this experience and with our doctoral degree, we can contribute to the country and our society in infinite ways, by following our academic career or not. Our ability to understand complex concepts makes us able to transmit information in a different way, and research is not an obstacle, but a tool to communicate, from our point-of-view, how we can contribute to the development and education of our country.
Our professional quality is important and certainly entails new tasks to bring the country to new frontiers in research as well as innovation.
-Tell us about your experience with the Three-minute thesis
-It was also a very good experience since I felt it was possible to communicate a complex idea to a non-scientific audience. This concept seems to me to be key in a scientific career: Our knowledge and training are at the service of others, and being able to communicate and transmit to non-scientists, from your family, students, or even patients or businessmen, is essential for the development of our country, and that is the spirit of promoting advanced human capital in Chile and in the Catholic University, in my opinion.
I thought it was an excellent initiative and I am very happy that these innovative ideas continue to be developed in UC. I was contacted by other agencies in Australia for the video, and it was not known that there were interesting lines of research being conducted in Chile, and I felt good to be part of that.