I started this project over a year ago, when discussions about the border wall were intensifying. During that time, I noticed that even well-intentioned people were making unintentionally disparaging remarks about immigrants, such as “We need immigrants in this country, they provide valuable labor like dish washing, gardening, maid services, etc.”. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this type of work, as it is valuable to the success of our nation, immigrants also contribute much more to this country that is often ignored. We are also engineers, physicians, lawyers, and importantly here at UT Health San Antonio– scientists.
I talked to Dr. Blake about this issue and the idea to create an interactive Google map that people can navigate quickly to visually grasp the wide range of research being done by individuals from all over the globe materialized. We aim to add the interactive map to the graduate school website to increase its visibility and impact on the community.
Initially, this map was intended to highlight the minority scientists at the institution. More recently, given recent events, it has evolved to celebrate the fact that people of all backgrounds and cultures contribute positively to our environment at UT Health San Antonio, and we come together to “make lives better” for everyone. Each one of us brings something unique from our heritage and life that enriches the community of the university.
I have already received great feedback from fellow scientists at the institution that come from a diverse number of countries, such as India, Philippines, Japan, Afghanistan, and others. However, I know we have many more unique individuals out there that I would love to include in the map!
About The Author
Sergio Cepeda is a student in the Molecular Immunology & Microbiology discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program. His research interest involves the development and function of intrathymic B cells. The thymus has been traditionally thought of as an organ for T cell development but recent evidence suggests a permanent population of B cells exists as well. The purpose of these B cells is largely unknown, however, making them a new and exiting question in an old field. We have recently identified age-associated accumulation of these cells in the thymus and are working towards understanding the function and kinetics of these cells in both young and aged animals.