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2019 Predoctoral Researchers


John Rojas Pino

National University of San Marcos

John Rojas Pino grew up learning how life works firsthand – he grew plants and bred animals with the help of his grandparents. He was fascinated by watching animals change physically and behaviorally as they grew and aged. That fascination led him to pursue a career in science, studying genetics and biotechnology as an undergraduate at National University of San Marcos in Peru and as an exchange student at University of Turku in Finland, and then applying to the predoctoral research program at the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute.

Already, he’s had a flurry of internships. He has studied the epigenetics of neural crest development, researched the post-translational process of sumoylation and its relation to cell senescence, worked on the regeneration of the spinal cord in the frog Xenopus laevis, and characterized a new gene editing system in zebrafish.

Rojas Pino heard about the Graduate School while at the International Course of Developmental Biology in Chile and at the V Latin American Zebrafish Network Course and Symposium in Mexico. He applied to the Graduate School both because of the research groups at Stowers that focus on evolutionary developmental biology and because he sees the graduate program as an opportunity to expand his science skills and move forward on his career path with an ultimate goal of running a lab of his own.

After earning his Ph.D., he would like to move back to Peru to join a growing generation of Peruvian scientists and lead his country on the world stage in developmental biology research.

Rojas Pino has already lived in many places outside of Peru, and he is looking forward to experiencing Kansas City while meeting new friends and exploring the city through one of his favorite activities, running.