Postdoc Profile in Human Pseudokinases

Genaro Hernandez, Ph.D.

Cell and Molecular Biology

Mentor: Vincent S. Tagliabracci, Ph.D.
Graduate Degree: Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology and Pharmacology
Graduate Institution: UT Southwestern Medical Center
Hometown: Mexico City

Genaro Hernandez, Ph.D.

How did you become interested in science and/or research specifically?

Since I was little I enjoyed playing with toy microscopes and chemistry sets. However, my family’s own struggle with type 2 diabetes motivated me to pursue a career in biomedical research to better understand and find solutions to metabolic diseases.

Tell us about your research project and its relevance to human health.

My current project is on the structural, biochemical and pharmacological characterization of novel enzymatic activities in the human pseudokinases, as well as proteins from the COVID-19 virus SARS-CoV-2. With this research we hope to uncover new signaling mechanisms in human health and disease that we will be able to therapeutically target. Likewise, we expect to develop antiviral therapies against SARS-CoV-2 and related coronaviruses.

Have you received any awards or fellowships during your scientific career, including high school, undergraduate and graduate school?

Postdoctoral Fellowships: UT Southwestern PROVIDES Fellow NIH NIGMS RO1 Diversity Supplement Graduate School Career Awards: Alfred and Mabel Gilman Outstanding Student in Pharmacology Award, 2019 UT Southwestern CMB Symposium Outstanding Talk Award, 2019 Altrusa-Leita Marsh Pharmacological Award, 2018 UT Southwestern Cell and Molecular Biology Program Symposium Outstanding Poster Award, 2018 Graduate School Career

Fellowships: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2015 Ford Foundation Fellowship of the National Academies

2014 Undergraduate Career at San Diego State University (SDSU) Awards: SDSU College of Sciences Outstanding Graduating Senior, 2013 SDSU Honors Program Outstanding Thesis Award, 2013 SDSU Quest for the Best, Vice-Presidential Student Leadership Award, 2013 SDSU Student Research Symposium Undergraduate Excellence Award for Oral Presentation, 2012-2013 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) Outstanding Oral Presentation Award, 2012 Southwestern College Math Science and Engineering Leadership Award, 2010 NIH/NIGMS Bridges to the Future Outstanding Student Award, 2009 Undergraduate Career at San Diego State University (SDSU)

Fellowships: NIH/NIGMS MBRS/IMSD scholar, 2010-2013 UT Southwestern Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, 2010 NIH/NIGMS Bridges to the Future Scholar, 2009

Why did you choose to come to UT Southwestern for graduate school?

I chose UTSW for my studies because it is the mecca for metabolic research. Moreover, I immediately noticed the friendly and collaborative environment at UTSW that allows one to interact and learn from outstanding scientists.

In your opinion, what makes your specific program one of the top in the country?

The PROVIDES program is unique in the sense that it aims to fully prepare diversity postdoctoral scientists like myself for academic faculty positions. This program comes with excellent financial, professional and scientific support from the greatest minds at UT Southwestern.

What do you love about your program or why should a prospective student decide to get their Ph.D. here?

Any prospective diversity postdoctoral researcher should consider applying for the PROVIDES program if their passion lies in academic research. I can’t emphasize enough how great the community here is at helping you toward becoming the best scientist you can be. This is particularly important as there is a need for more diversity individuals in faculty positions in academia. UT Southwestern is already known as a top-tier research institution and I really like that there is a major focus on diversity and inclusion at all levels including the postdoctoral stage with the PROVIDES program.

– Genaro Hernandez, Ph.D., PROVIDES Program

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