Biomed grads in front of a commencement sign
June 3, 2022

Four Biomedical Sciences Students Graduate on June 4

John Macbeth, Stephanie Guardado, Edward Vizcarra, and Allison Peterson to be Hooded Saturday

Author: Ross French
June 3, 2022

On Saturday, June 4, 2022, four members of the UC Riverside School of Medicine's Division of Biomedical Sciences will participate in the annual Graduate Division Hooding Ceremony at the Student Recreation Center North.

In celebration of their graduation, we asked John Macbeth, Stephanie Guardado, Edward Vizcarra, and Allison Peterson (pictured above from left) to reflect on their time at UCR and share their future plans. Their responses are listed below in alphabetical order.


Stephanie Guardado

Stephanie Guardado

Whose lab did you work in and what was the focus of your research?

I worked under the mentorship of Dr. Tara Nordgren and Dr. Marcus Kaul and the focus of my research was to identify protective vs detrimental roles of Lipocalin-2 in the lung immune response to hog dust extracts.
 
What was your thesis title? When did (or will) you defend it?

“Lipocalin-2 Regulates IL-10 Levels in a Murine Model of Repetitive Inflammation Induced by Hog Dust Extract Inhalation.” I will defend on July 25.
 
What’s next for you? Where are you going from here?

I will be doing my postdoctoral training at the School of Medicine at Stanford with a research focus on pulmonary and vascular inflammation. My main goal is to mentor students in the future, especially those with limited resources. Good mentorship is crucial for the success of students, and I wouldn't be graduating without the help of many that helped me.
 
What’s your favorite memory of your time at UCR?

Long treks on Saturdays with other UCR students to mentor high school students.
 
What was the biggest surprise of your time at UCR?

Meeting my husband in the same program! (Edward Vizcarra, below.)
 
Anything you would like to add?

Thank you to the family, friends and all of the amazing mentors that I’ve had along the way. You’ve been the greatest support system and my accomplishments are as much yours as my own.


John Macbeth

John Macbeth

Whose lab did you work in and what was the focus of your research?
Dr. Ansel Hsiao, microbiology, gut microbiome, infectious disease, host-pathogen interactions, immunology, vaccines.

What was your thesis title? When did (or will) you defend it?
"The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Shaping Immune Responses to Vibrio cholerae." I defended on February 3, 2022.

What’s next for you? Where are you going from here?
Starting my career in medical affairs as a medical affairs intern at Novavax.

What’s your favorite memory of your time at UCR?
Happy Bio SOM gatherings on Picnic Hill.

What was the biggest surprise of your time at UCR?
Having to walk from the Multidisciplinary Research Building to the vivarium multiple times a day.

Anything you would like to add?
Thank you Ansel, my lab members, the biomed students and the  faculty for a challenging but rewarding experience.


Allison Peterson

Allison Peterson

Whose lab did you work in and what was the focus of your research?
I was in the lab of Devin K. Binder, M.D., Ph.D. My research focused on astrocytes and epilepsy. In particular, my proposal aimed to examine the cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with glutamate transporter dysregulation and their potential as a therapeutic target in epilepsy. I hypothesized that astrocytic glutamate transporter dysregulation contributes to the development of epilepsy and therefore can be targeted for the attenuation of epilepsy. Changes in astrocytic glutamate transporters were evaluated post-kainate induced status epilepticus. Additionally, we examined post-translational modifications (PTMs) of these transporters that have previously been determined to cause both mislocalization and dysfunction of glutamate transporters in other models of neurological disease including SUMOylation, ubiquitination and palmitoylation. For the first time, the role of glutamate transporter modulation in reducing seizures and attenuating pathological changes observed in the IHKA model of TLE using an AAV-Gfa2-GLT1-cHA viral vector and neuregulin (NRG-1) treatment was investigated. Finally, we examined real-time glutamate spike activity to identify whether marked glutamate spike patterns can be used to predict epileptiform activity in epileptogenesis.

 What was your thesis title? When did (or will) you defend it?

"Glutamate Uptake Regulation as a Therapeutic Strategy in Epilepsy"
I defended on Friday, May 27.

What’s next for you? Where are you going from here?
I am taking the medical admissions entrance exam (MCAT) in September and applying to medical schools in 2023.

What’s your favorite memory of your time at UCR?
Those late nights studying in the SOM Education Building with the medical students during year one prepping for our block exams.

What was the biggest surprise of your time at UCR?
How every faculty member at UCR is willing to go above and beyond to train us young scientists/researchers. I gained valuable translational and clinical research experience that I hope to carry with me throughout my professional career.

Anything you would like to add?
I would like to thank my P.I., Devin K. Binder, who has been an incredible mentor and source of support throughout my graduate career.


Edward Vizcarra

Edward Vizcarra

Whose lab did you work in and what was the focus of your research?
I worked in Dr. Emma Wilson's lab studying how the brain microenvironment influences protective immunity against the parasite T. gondii.

What was your thesis title? When did (or will) you defend it?
"Glutamate's influence on mGluR+ CD8 T cells in Response to Chronic Toxoplasma Infection." My defense date is September 7, 2022.

What’s next for you? Where are you going from here?
I will be starting a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford where I will be studying the T cell repertoire in response to EBV.

What’s your favorite memory of your time at UCR?
I think my favorite memory at UCR was meeting my wife. (Stephanie Guardado,  above.)

What was the biggest surprise of your time at UCR?
The biggest surprise is seeing how much I have developed as a person and scientist in the last five years.

Anything you would like to add?
I just want to thank all of the people that have supported me through this journey, and all of the lifelong friends I have met.