PhD in biochemistry, Professor Valentina Parra, published in Circulation Research, one of the most important academic magazines in cardiology in the world

PhD in biochemistry, Professor Valentina Parra, published in Circulation Research, one of the most important academic magazines in cardiology in the world

An excellent achievement for a young academic obtained the Doctor of Biochemistry from our Faculty, Professor Valentina Parra Ortiz, academic of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Your paper "Down Syndrome Critical Region 1 Gene,Rcan1, Helps Maintain a More Fused Mitochondrial Network" was published and featured in the editorial of the March 16 issue, volume 11, Issue 6, of the journal "Circulation Research", one of the most important academic journals in cardiology in the world.

With an ISI impact indicator: 13,965, this publication includes the paper of Professor Parra as lead author, and co-authors Francisco Altamirano, Carolina P. Hernández-Fuentes, Dan Tong, Victoriia Kyrychenko, David Rotter, Zully Pedrozo, Joseph A. Veronica Eisner, Sergio Lavandero, Jay W. Schneider and Beverly A. Rothermel

View paper:

"They highlight it because we work on a model two things. An ischemia-reperfusion and basically we saw what is called 'setpoint', a molecule that is able to mark the before and after within the ischemia-reperfusion process." Dr. Parra explains that ischemia-reperfusion is what happens when you have a heart attack: "cells stop receiving oxygen and nutrients and then we generate an in vitro model for the study of heart attack and how mitochondria influence (which are these small organelees that give energy to the cell) whether or not this infarction is further propagated, this ischemia-reperfusion process."

It adds that "we use animal models, in vitro models and human models". In the latter case we used a protein known as the critical region of Down Syndrome No.1, which has been known for a long time but has not been very studied." Dr. Parra explained that "we are working in the Faculty, human cells with Down syndrome patients, because these patients develop 50% more heart disease. Then we saw that this protein, if it is high is harmful and if it is low it is harmful as a source of set point; then we said that maybe this protein is the cause of Down's syndrome having more heart disease"

Our researcher believes that "that's why they found it interesting, because we see it in a model of heart attack but also of human pathology and apparently everything we have been studying from mitochondria as an energy source is overexpressed in people with Down syndrome and is what causes the most heart disease and it is per least one of the causes of these patients' young death. In their case, because they are very upset," says Professor Parra.

Dr. Parra noted that "this is a publication that takes the last part of what I did from my postdoctoral degree in the United States and what we started here in Chile in my research lab. These are the first results from my lab, which here is a pop-up line. I joined as a teacher in 2016 and from there I started with my laboratory because I have an insertion project in the academy and an initiation FONDECYT. The two were sponsored by the Faculty and these are the first data that are published, the first things that we have generated here in the Faculty", expresses enthusiasticand at the same time very content by the achievement obtained. In short, the research represents the 3 years of research in the United States and 3 years of research at the Faculty.

He added that "for me that I am a young academic with a laboratory that is no more than two years old it is absolutely important to appear in this publication. In addition, it gives rise to us so that the following research can continue to appear in really good journals because young researchers always have a hard time making the first leap and now it should be a little easier for us to appear in magazines in the area. We have a foot where people believe us and that's really important," he said.

Valentina Parra emphasizes that they do this with techniques that in the Laboratory she directs, "which occupies routine techniques and very high technology, are techniques that we have developed over time and we all have them mounted", she says.

(photo lab)

A short history of academic achievement

To know the life of our young academic is to recognize an intense and passionate life of biochemistry, as she herself recognizes.

He studied biochemistry at the Faculty, was the first of his generation. He entered 2000 and in 2007 postgraduately with a phD in biochemistry. She won the Loreal Scholarship "For woman of Science", in addition to the Hermann Niemeyer scholarship of the Society of Biochemistry and was also selected for the YOUNG GE Scientific Award, coming second at Latin American level, in 2011.

During his PhD he did an internship in the United States at the University of Yuta and prior to his doctorate he did his internship at the University of Liverpool because he won a scholarship from the Andes Foundation that was for outstanding undergraduate students to do internships in international high-tech centers. Already in undergraduate she began to develop the "bug" of research – as she herself claims – and from there she entered the doctorate.

After his doctorate he went to do the postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Dallas, in the United States, with Beverly A. Rothermel with whom he began working on the cardiac issue and the ester of various diseases such as Down Syndrome. For that last he won a jum star award from the EAI Intertional Institue for Health to start working on ester.

When she had been at the University of Texas for 3 years she said it was time to return and contacted Dr. Daniela Seelenfreud and Sergio lavandero who had been their PhD thesis director to ask them to sponsor her for an insertion project in the academia. He comments that "they were absolutely generous to come up with a project that we sent and started working while I was in the United States. When I returned I started working with Sergio lavandero and Dr. Pablo Castro of the Catholic University and in December 2015 I won the insertion project in the academy and since 2016 I am here".

"Never missed my mom that I wanted to be a biochemical"

In her personal role, a doctor of biochemistry, she says she is 36 years old and is expecting my first child. It states that "my partner is also engaged in the research part and we achieve stabilization almost together. It gave the necessary time to start enlating the family", he says with great satisfaction."

Regarding her dedication to biochemistry, she says she wanted to be a biochemist as a young girl. "In my house I had a lab and when my brother was born with which I am 8 years apart, my mother would give her laundry and I would steal them and make essences of plants and make perfumes that I then sold them to my aunts, to my cousins. My mom was never surprised that she wanted to be a biochemist," she says emphatically. Remember that when I was about 7-8 years old, his dad gave him his first microscope, "which I had in my lab at the bottom of my backyard with my jars that no one could touch me because that's where I had my experiments."

He studied at a school in San Bernardo called America Academy, a subsidized private individual. "We were a small course of 25 students in the middle room," he recalls, to which he returned in 2016 to do a class through the Explore program.

He concludes by saying that "I really like research and I really like teaching and working with young people, I have a good time, I entertain myself, the academic career is perfect as it is being given to me. I really like sharing knowledge with other people. I also like other things like film, theatre, but it makes me very happy to do research and teaching."

Congratulations to Professor Valentina Parra for her publication!!