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Maya Loves “To Cultivate My Interests and Curiosity.”


“My name is Maya Elias. I am a PhD student
and registered nurse at University of South Florida. I am also a research assistant in
Dr. Borlongan’s lab here at the The Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair Department
of Neurosurgery at the Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida. Here
at the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, I work closely with Dr. Borlongan
and other researchers to look at the efficacy of stem cells in the therapeutics of stroke.
Here in the laboratory I’m able to really cultivate my interest and curiosity in science.
I’m able to use the microscope. I’m able to use, look at different proteins and really
take a look at all the aspects of science and research that I wouldn’t be able to experience
otherwise without experience in the laboratory setting. I’m actually the first person in my family
to be born in the United States. Actually I was born in Oklahoma City. My parents were
born and raised in India. What was difficult for me in the past in getting to this point
is that I am a first generation American citizen in my family and I am the first generation
to obtain a college degree and then a master’s degree. And now I am a PhD student here. My
original degree is in nursing and I am a registered nurse. I did consider becoming a physician
but I decided that as a nurse I was specifically interested in certain patient populations.
Such as the older adult populations and the neurosciences. And that’s what really focused
me, focused my career path in research because I can really take a look at the patient population
I’m interested in and truly make a difference for those patients in the long term. So here we can see the microglial cells in
the cortex. [Speaker 2:] Is there any other part of the
brain that you can see those microglial cells? [Speaker 1:] Yes it seems like we can also
see these in the [inaudible]. [Speaker 2:] So why don’t you check your [inaudible] [Speaker 1:] I hope to directly apply my research
to patients in the clinical setting. I hope that what my research focuses on is beneficial
to neuroscience patients and patients with neurodegenerative diseases. As a woman, and
as a minority and as a first generation college student and college graduate, I can safely
say and confidently say that believing in yourself and being persistent and looking
ahead and having a goal in mind always will lead you to success in the medical field.”

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