Meet Paula Rodriguez

Written by Angela Gonella for Hispanic Heritage Month

Paula is a Veterinary Doctor who graduated from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. She completed her master’s in veterinary sciences from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS, Brazil) and her PhD in Animal Sciences from the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba (UNC, Argentina). She worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Universidad Federal do Ceara (UFC, Brazil). Currently, she is the director of the Embryology Lab Recombinetics and works in the research and development of technics and tools to produce gene-edited animals (bovine and porcine): “Our general aim is to produce biomedical models for human disease and xenotransplantation and also provide welfare solutions for livestock animals.”

What is your current position, and what does it entail?

I’m an Embryologist and Director of the Embryology Laboratory at Recombinetics, Inc. That means I oversee all the embryo production for the different animal editing platforms we have.

Can you talk a little bit about yourself, where are you from? What first attracted you to the world of science? And how did you get to be in your current position?

I’m a veterinarian from Bogota, Colombia. Then, I made my master’s in animal biotechnologies in Brazil and a Ph.D. in Animal Science in Argentina. I always work with animal reproduction in different species, from basic to applied research and teaching to commercial production. What attracted me to science was that the answers in science always generate more questions, and I love that! Since graduation, I have been interested in the animal reproduction area. I specialize in vivo and in vitro embryo production, andrology, cryopreservation, cloning, micromanipulation, gene editing, and proteomics. That opens me to many different opportunities for work with animal reproduction in research, teaching, and commercial areas.

What impact has the pandemic had on your daily activities and your research?

We never stop. We must slow down in our timeline production, but the research and development never stopped.

Have you gained any valuable lessons from life during the pandemic?

Nothing can be predictable.

What are you most excited to do over the next year?

Go to meetings, see people in person.

What words of inspiration would you like to share with the future generation of scientists?

You do not get anywhere alone; it is crucial to work as a team and have good networking. Always be true to yourself. Never stop and keep trying.

Are there ways in which you think your heritage has affected your perspective or career trajectory?

Yes, positively. I started my scientific career in a third-world country, which taught me to be resourceful and efficient. It also showed me that science can reach even the least imagined places. And that it is important to spread science at different levels to continue progressing.

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