School of Health Professions graduate already in research

HARLINGEN — He’s only been out of school for a year, and he’s already doing important research at a world-renowned hospital.

Cesar Ruiz, a 2020 graduate of the Harlingen School of Health Professions, said he feels honored to have been accepted into an internship program. Cesar, a biomedical sciences student at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Brownsville, said he will work with physicians at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston this summer.

“I never thought I’d get this opportunity because I know it’s super hard to get into these internships,” said Cesar, 19. “I’m just blessed.”

Beginning June 7, he will work alongside physicians performing research on molecular factors for melanomas in mouse cells.

“I actually have a lot of experience in cell culturing and western blot,” he said.

Cesar explained that cell culturing is a process in which cells are grown to observe certain traits or proteins. Western blot, he said, is a process of using the cells the researcher has cultured and “lysing” them, or breaking them down. Once they’ve been broken down, researchers can observe and analyze their individual contents.

He’ll be using similar techniques in the research at MD Anderson, which will continue through Aug. 13.

Cesar gave a shout-out to his professor, Dr. Sue Anne Chew.

“She is an amazing professor, and she has helped me a lot along the way throughout this process,” he said.

The internship has been coordinated through the University Outreach Program.

“They offer universities noncompetitive spots to do their research during the summer,” Cesar said. “My professor chose me to go on alongside another student during the summer.”

So why did she approach him about the opportunity?

“I have a class called Biomedical Research Initiative,” he said. “My professor noticed I had a preference towards research, and she liked that I was doing good in my class. She chose me to go ahead and take one of those spots.”

He’s most looking forward to strengthening his knowledge in research and make better presentations.

“In the future,” he said, “I want to take part in a lab at UTRGV, and I just want to strengthen my approach to research. That way I can get more helpful and useful in the future.”

He’d like to pursue medicine with emphasis on trauma and orthopedics.