During the 2019-2020 school year, Cesar Ruiz Elizondo was a senior in the classrooms of Harlingen School of Health Professions, preparing for college and his future career.
This year, he is ending his freshman year at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley as a Biomedical Sciences major. He is still working towards a career in the health professions, but he has discovered a developing interest in research.
“Biomedical sciences is a very research-oriented program which mostly focuses on the human body,” Ruiz Elizondo said. “The Biomedical Freshman Research Initiative class is designed to get you prepared for scientific research. We are taught basic lab techniques such as polymerase chain reaction, gel electrophoresis, and we are also shown how to properly write up proposals to build an experiment in detail.”
Through his research initiative class, he developed a passion for research, and it is also where he gained the opportunity to intern at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“This class has clearly brought out a passion in me for research, and I am in love with it,” Ruiz Elizondo said. “My professor for my Biomedical Freshman Research Initiative class, Dr. Sue Anne Chew, noticed my hard work and passion for research and chose me as one of the two students who will represent UTRGV and the BMED program at MD Anderson this summer.”
Ruiz Elizondo traveled to Houston in June to begin his internship.
“This summer I am performing research in the tumor mutation burden,” he said. “I have been performing several different procedures on different cell lines to help me accomplish the goal of my research. I am very fortunate to be trusted to perform all these procedures on my own. Additionally, I’ve really enjoyed meeting such a diverse group of students that possess similar goals as myself.”
He enjoys working in the lab.
“Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide, and I am honored to be able to make a contribution to better understand this disease,” Ruiz Elizondo said. “Without the support and education from my family, the Biomedical Sciences department at UTRGV, and HSHP, I would not be where I stand today.”
The 10-week summer research internship program at MD Anderson is designed for outstanding UTRGV BMED students who are interested in pursuing graduate school and a career in cancer research.
“I am beyond blessed for this opportunity and thankful to have such an amazing group of professors who have gotten me ready for this,” Ruiz Elizondo said. “It is very satisfying to see how my hard work has paid off, but this is only the beginning of a much longer journey. In the future, I hope to continue being involved in research as I prepare for medical school, and I look forward to serving my community.”