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Giovanni Botten, M.D., Ph.D.: Vernie A. Stembridge Scholarship Award in Pathology

A longtime interest in science led Dr. Giovanni Botten to UT Southwestern, while lab experience involving pathology research solidified his focus. His long-term goal is to run his own laboratory at an academic medical center, specializing in either hematopathology or molecular pathology.

Giovanni Botten, M.D., Ph.D.
Giovanni Botten, M.D., Ph.D.

What this award means: It is a great honor to receive this award. The faculty members within the Department are exceptional at embracing students and are genuinely interested in our journey to becoming pathologists.

Mentor comment: Giovanni Botten has distinguished himself academically in both medical and graduate school. He has authored or co-authored 13 peer-reviewed manuscripts, a book chapter, and four poster presentations. He was awarded the Best Poster Presentation in 2019 for the Genetics, Development and Disease UTSW Graduate Program. – Kathleen Wilson, M.D., Professor of Pathology and in the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development

Background and family: I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My mother emigrated from Peru at a young age and is an accountant and partner at a business management firm. My father is from Michigan and served in the U.S. Marine Corps. My younger sister is a nurse. My wife is a neonatal nurse practitioner and doula. I am the first in my family to attend college and medical school.

What led to your career path: After college, I completed a Master of Health Science at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where I was inspired to pursue a career in science. I joined a laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as a research technician, investigating transcriptional responses to inflammatory stimuli within innate immune cells. I worked closely with a postdoctoral fellow who previously received combined M.D./Ph.D. training and completed a dermatopathology fellowship at UCLA. My thesis adviser at UTSW received his Ph.D. training from the same lab at UCLA under the same Principal Investigator I worked with previously. I had joined UTSW familiar with the field of pathology, and my passion for the field grew.

College: I graduated from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and immunology. I participated in the UCI Excellence in Research and Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programs, investigating pediatric cancer-related pain. I was a resident adviser for student housing, and a statistician for the men’s volleyball team when the Anteaters won the NCAA title.

UTSW activities: I have been actively involved in research at UTSW as a student in the Perot Family Scholars Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). I conducted my dissertation research with former faculty member Jian Xu, Ph.D., investigating how large-scale genomic mutations that do not disrupt protein-coding sequences influence gene expression in leukemia cells. I was an executive member of the MSTP Grand Rounds committee and the former MSTP Social Committee (pre-COVID-19). I also served as an Executive Committee member for the Latino Medical Student Association and Southwestern Garden Club.

Surprising fact: English was not my first language.

Future plans: I plan to complete residency training at UCLA and pursue a clinical fellowship in hematopathology or molecular pathology. My long-term goal is to run my own laboratory at an academic medical center.

About the award: The award was established by friends and colleagues of Dr. Stembridge, a former Chair of Pathology, who died in 2000. The $1,500 award is given to a fourth-year medical student entering the field of pathology who has exhibited exemplary academic performance.

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