Natasha Méndez Albelo Awarded the SCRMC Graduate Training Award

Natasha Méndez Albelo
Natasha Méndez Albelo

Natasha Méndez Albelo, member of the Zhao lab and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Program student, has been awarded the competitive UW-Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC) Graduate Training Award. This award recognizes and provides support and professional development opportunities to graduate students doing research in stem cell and regenerative medicine.

Méndez Albelo’s research focuses on a RNA binding protein called FXR1. Using human induced pluripotent stems cells (IPSCs) converted into neurons, she investigates the function of the protein and how it regulates neural development. “We have already found that it is indeed an important regulator of development. Specifically, knocking down FXR1 significantly impairs neural progenitor cell proliferation and maturation of neurons,” Méndez Albelo says. However, there is still a lot more work to be done to understand how FXR1 regulates neurodevelopment.

“There’s not enough information about this protein,” Zhao says. “Getting this funding from our stem cell center provides strong support for Natasha’s training and paves the road for her career development as a stem cell scientist.”

Congratulations, Natasha!