Dr. Amanda Muñoz graduated in 2017 with a degree in Cellular and Structural Biology. She is now working in Dr. Alexei Tumanov’s lab at UT Health San Antonio.
When did you first become interested in science?
I have always been interested in science and knew that I would pursue a career in a scientific field from an early age.
Why did you pick The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and your program?
I chose to pursue my Ph.D. at UT Health San Antonio for three reasons:
- Distance from family (not too far and not too close)
- My interest in the research being conducted at UTHSCSA
- Cost of living
I chose to stay for a postdoc at UT Health San Antonio because:
- I found a lab studying the same model I want to use in my future research (colorectal tumor immunology)
- I wanted to be able to participate in the IRACDA program or at the very least, be able to audit some of the program’s mentor training courses
- I love San Antonio and did not really want to leave
Tell me more about your career path.
Long term, I want to have a tenure track faculty position at an undergraduate institution.
Tell me about your current career, what do you do?
Currently, I am an IRACDA scholar and just recently started a postdoctoral position with Dr. Alexei Tumanov. My research focuses on lymphotoxin beta receptor (LTβR) signaling in a sporadic colorectal cancer model.
What is a day like in your job?
A typical day is busy juggling RNAseq and QPCR analysis while also monitoring ongoing mouse experiments and maintaining a breeding colony of genetically modified mice. I also have cell culture responsibilities and am working on a manuscript.
How did the education you get at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio prepare you?
The multi-disciplinary nature of the program allowed me to identify a specific interdisciplinary niche that I decided to base my future career in. Throughout my graduate years at UT Health San Antonio, I was able to get training in both cancer biology and immunology which ties in very well with my future career aspirations and also helped me get my postdoc position.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Positive data, manuscripts, learning new things, and the scientific discussions I get to have with my colleagues.
What has been your proudest achievement?
Finishing my dissertation and getting into the IRACDA program.
Who has influenced you the most in life?
- June Young (my grandmother)
- Dan Howard (undergraduate mentor)
- Elba Serrano (MBRS-RISE mentor)
- Stephen Miller (middle school teacher)
- Mary-Ann Cornelius (4thgrade teacher)
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what one band or musician would help keep your sanity?
Nicky Jam, although Baby Bash is a close second.
What do you consider your favorite hobby?
What is your favorite quote?
If you have a dream, don’t let anybody take it away and always believe that the impossible is possible. – Selena Quintanilla
If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?
My grandfather, Ronald Young
If you won the lottery, what would you do?
- Pay off student loans and other debt
- Give money to family and charities
- Donate money or set up a fellowship for minority graduate research
- Travel more
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
The Maldives, Fiji, Guam, Peru, New Zealand, and Europe.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Which authors or books have influenced you the most?
- The Color Purple, Alice Walker
- 1984, George Orwell
- The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare
What would you tell a current student interested in your career? Any advice?
Don’t give up. There will be good times and bad, but the degree is worth it in the end.
For students who are looking for a postdoc, be up front and honest with the PIs that you interview with about your expectations of them and what you hope to achieve in their lab. Also, be willing to write grants or fellowship applications with prospective postdoc mentors in order to join a lab that appeals to your area of interest and fits your personality.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work, I am studying Jukido (a style of mixed martial arts). In addition to this, I enjoy going to the movies, karaoke, dancing, bowling, fishing, swimming, reading, and going to amusement parks.
Have a question for Amanda? Ask her at www.gsbsalumni.com.