Personal Statement Research area of interest By: Angélica M. González Sánchez. “Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematicallyand truly all that comes under thy observation in life.” (Marcus Aurelius) Following this idea of the great Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius, I willbe able to explain the origins of my interest on research and to which area it has inclined. Since Iwas little, I have always been amazed by nature. Every time I went outside to my backyard Ispent hours watching the plants and the insects. As I observed, I started to become curious aboutwhy things in nature functioned as they did, and so I started asking my parents and grandparentsabout the World. They certainly made my curiosity grow even bigger by answering myquestions, but their most significant contribution for my developing inquisitiveness was that theytaught me to read and to appreciate the power of books as the mean to enrich myself withknowledge. Likewise, that’s why when I got to school my interest directed towards Scienceclasses, since they functioned to answer many of the questions I had and also increased mycuriosity on new topics. However, my interest in Science has always been very broad. I haveliked every topic on my Science classes, from cellular biology to geology. It wasn’t until I got tothe university that I’ve been able to define a little bit more on what area of Science it is that Iwould like to specialize myself. I entered the University of Puerto Rico atCayey through the Chemistry Departmentbecause Chemistry was the class that I liked the most in high school. During my senior year inhigh school, a friend told me about the RISE program which enhances research interest instudents and helps them to pursue a Ph.D. At that time, I didn’t even know what a Ph.D. was, butmy participation in Science Fairs had awakened in me a passion for research, reason why Idecided to enter the program. In RISE I got the opportunity to present a research proposal on atopic I would like to research about. I decided to focus it on the topic of analyzing thebacteriological contamination of a community water system. The presentation of this proposalwas the event that marked the start of my real passion for research and when I finally realizedthat research was made for me. All the organization, responsibility, perseverance, quick learningskills and public speaking abilities that I possess came to test and they outstood. Above all, thesatisfaction I felt after all the hard work was indescribable. Moreover, during this semester’s scientific literature course that RISE offered we got theopportunity to write a review paper on a topic of our choice. One day I was reading some articlesabout treatments for inflammatory bowel disease, trying to understand more about thisconditionbecause my dad suffers from it. Casually, I got acknowledge of curcumin, a naturalcompound that has been found to have immune-modulatory activity upon the deregulation ofseveral molecules related to inflammation on the mentioned disease. I continued to read more
and committed lots of hours on learning about this topic until I finally made my review paperabout it. Then, I realized that this topic had a lot to do with Biochemistry because it analyzed theeffect of a chemical compound on a biological system, as well as the chemical processes thatnaturally accompany the functioning of the system. Thanks tothis paper it was that I defined myinterest on Science as directed towards Biochemistry, and now it is between the areas on which Iwill probably be pursuing a Ph.D.,along with Chemistry and Pharmacology. Ever since I got a much clearer view on which areas of Science I am more interested, Ihave been researching on recent and relevant topics of research that are related toBiochemistry.Casually I was talking to a friend about my interest on Biochemistry and he toldme about the Endocrine Society and how it focuses on studying the biochemical processes onendocrine systems. He told me about some of the topics that the society studies such as obesity,diabetes and breast cancer. Because of the great importance that all of these topics have on oursociety, they all resulted very interesting for me, reason why I decided to investigate a little bitmore about them by reading articles. Also, I have personal experiences with endocrinologybecause of a thyroid condition. Therefore,my visits to several specialists have made me realizethat it is an amazing field that affects lots of significant areas of the human life and involves veryfascinating processes. On the other hand, I’ve also read several papers and went to various seminars offered bythe RISE program which have mostly focused on topics related to cancer. Consequently, I havegotten to know about the great need that there is for more knowledge about cancer so that itwould be easier to make an early diagnosis and to develop more effective treatments.Likewise,Ihave personally been closely related to cancer because of friends and family members who havesuffered this condition. That’s why during my life I have gotten very interested on this topic andon doing something about it. In fact, last year, a bunch of friends and me made a group to raisemoney for the American Cancer Society and to participate on the Relay for Life of our town. Weraised about three thousand dollars and also shared a lot of experiences with cancer patients. Itwas a very meaningful experience both to appreciate more my life and to increase my desire ofdoing good acts for others because of the satisfaction that they cause. For all these, I am aware ofthe transcendence and impact of cancer in people’s life and how all of us could be susceptible tothis condition. That’s why right now I would like to research about topics related to cancer. Iconsider this to be my research area of interest because it is a relevant field for investigations thathas to do with biochemical processes and also affects people’s life directly. That’s why I wouldbe much honored to be part of a research related to Biochemistry, especially on cancer. Aboveall, as I stated in the beginning with the quote from Marcus Aurelius, my main interest is toinvestigate about the things that I observe and consider important in life. For me, Biochemistry isone of those things.