Harvard Catalyst Profiles

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Diego Alonso Vargas Blanco, Ph.D.

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Universidad Católica de Santa María, Arequipa, PeruBS12/2009Biotechnology Engineering
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MAMS02/2018Biotechnology
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MAPhD12/2020Biology & Biotechnology
2014 - 2016
Fulbright Foreign Student Program

A fascination with understanding how biological systems work led Diego to study biotechnological engineering at UCSM in Peru. He then joined WPI with a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a MS degree with Dr. Reeta Rao studying Filastatin, a novel molecule that prevents the adhesion of Candida albicans to abiotic surfaces, making possible its use as a pre-therapeutic coating for medical devices. Later, he joined Dr. Scarlet Shell laboratory to pursue a PhD. Diego was intrigued with the many secrets hidden in the genome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which confer this bacterium a remarkable ability to survive stress conditions. Thus, his doctoral studies focused on understanding the regulation of mRNA stability as an adaptive response to environmental changes. After receiving his doctoral degree, Diego joined Dr. Jatin Vyas laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital as a postdoctoral research fellow studying the innate immune response against Aspergillus fumigatus. In his free time, Diego enjoys cooking, baking, oil painting, and ballroom dancing.

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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.