KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Dr. Erika Calvo-Ochoa, instructor of the biological sciences department, was recently awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology for her project “The role of neurogenesis in the functional recovery and morphological remodeling of the zebrafish olfactory bulb following lesion”. Calvo-Ochoa will work under the mentorship of Dr. Christine Byrd-Jacobs, professor of the biological sciences department.
Calvo-Ochoa’s research will focus on studying mechanisms of adult brain regeneration, repair and recovery of function following injury in zebrafish, an animal with an extraordinary regenerative potential. This research has implications for improving human health since it could lead to transformative strategies to stimulate neuronal regeneration and integration into damaged brain areas. These strategies could aid to achieve complete repair and recovery in injured human brains after stroke and traumatic brain injury.
The two-year fellowship will support Calvo-Ochoa’s proposed research plan as well as outreach and mentoring activities aimed to actively recruit and engage young Latino students in biology. These activities will assist in the recognition, fostering and advancement of promising Latino scientists that might otherwise be overlooked due to cultural and language barriers, thus broadening their participation in biology and enhancing diversity in STEM.