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Jose Ortiz

Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy 2012 & 2013

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How the Right Mentors and a Courageous Mom Enabled My Journey from the Barrios to the Laboratory

23/01/2014 04:02pm | 10977 views

I was born in the barrios of Tijuana, Mexico, a neighborhood riddled with extreme poverty and violence.

With my father gone, my mother was left to raise my two sisters and me on her own. She worked as a maid and cook, but these jobs were not enough to make ends meet. Soon she realized Tijuana was not an ideal place to raise her children. For that reason, in 1998, my mother made the decision to migrate from Baja California, Mexico to southern California, USA. 

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About the Author

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Jose Ortiz

Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy 2012 & 2013

Jose Ortiz is a senior undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. In 2012, through the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy at City of Hope, Jose worked for Dr. Jeffrey N. Weitzel and analyzed Ovarian and Breast Cancer Associated (BRCA) gene mutations in Mexico. He returned to the Summer Student Academy in 2013 and worked in the lab of Don Diamond, Ph.D., under the guidance of Felix Wussow, Ph.D., to help develop a subunit vaccine against the Rhesus Cytomegalovirus using a Two-Markerless Red Recombination system. Currently, he works at UCLA in the lab of Dr. Martha Lewis studying the time point during which HIV reservoir cells become established. In the future, Jose hopes to pursue graduate studies in biomedical research.