Karla Yadira Terrazas
University of Texas at San Antonio
Thesis: Investigating the tissue-specific roles of Tcof1, Polr1c and Polr1d during ribosome biogenesis
In 2013, near the end of her undergraduate biology studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Karla Terrazas made a bold decision to delay graduation in order to contemplate her future. To do that, she traveled from her Texas home to Southern California to undertake a summer internship at Caltech, where she was placed in a developmental biology lab. Trained in computational neurobiology, she felt apprehensive about being out of her element.
Nonetheless, Terrazas threw herself into molecular analyses of the mechanisms that regulate neural crest migration in the lab of renowned developmental biologist Marianne Bronner, PhD. Soon, she was completely hooked on embryology and, encouraged by the Bronner lab, began considering the Stowers Institute for PhD studies.
Terrazas returned to UTSA to complete her BS but made an exploratory visit to Kansas City, where she met Stowers investigators and attended a “science club” research meeting. Terrazas liked that the Institute felt like a focused working environment where everyone was regarded as a colleague. So she applied and was accepted, and to ready herself spent the summer of 2014 working in Paul Kulesa’s lab.
She credits the UTSA Minority Biomedical Research Support-Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (MBRS-RISE) program for mentoring her as a young scientist. Her résumé’s community service section reflects her efforts to give back: Among extra-curricular activities listed, her favorite was UTSA’s For The Kids program, which supports pediatric cancer patients through a dance-a-thon. Not surprisingly, after she earns her PhD, Terrazas plans to continue to give back by teaching.