GSBS student named to prestigious research organization

Jacklyn Bermudez
Jaclyn Bermudez

By Cari Hyden

As an undergraduate, Jaclyn Bermudez made an important finding in a biology lab – she discovered she loved research.

Now a PhD candidate in the Visual Sciences program in UNTHSC’s North Texas Eye Research Institute, her career trajectory has rocketed skyward ever since. And this year she became a board member of the world’s largest and most respected eye and vision research organization – the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

The El Paso native was studying at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio when she made her discovery.

“Compared to medicine, research allows you to impact more people,” Bermudez said. “It allows you to answer questions that no one has thought to ask.”

She participated in research projects throughout her undergraduate years, searched online for PhD programs and was impressed by UNTHSC’s program, which emphasizes collaboration.

Since then, she’s compiled an impressive list of accomplishments. She founded a student chapter for the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). She was accepted into UNTHSC’s NIH-funded Minority Opportunities in Research and Education (MORE) program and was awarded an NIH-funded Neurobiology of Aging training grant, directed by Dr. Meharvan Singh, Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Science.

In addition, she was awarded the UNTHSC’s Wordinger Scholarship in Visual Sciences and earned a first-place award in the 2015 RAD competition for a poster on her glaucoma research findings.

No surprise, then, that ARVO wanted her as its next at-large member-in-training trustee. Her non-voting role will be to communicate the needs of ARVO’s members in training (primarily post-docs and students), who represent a third of its membership, for the next two years.

“I hope to bring the voice of minorities and women to the members in training and the board,” Bermudez said. She’ll also continue her passion, research.

“At times research is scary,” she said, “but there are small victories in the lab. When you finally start believing your hypothesis, you feel like you’ve really discovered something awesome.”

She eventually wants to teach and move into a leadership position in higher education where she can promote interprofessionalism.

“I’d like to get more scientists and physicians together to better answer questions about what happens during the disease process,” she said. “Then we can develop better treatments.”

Recent News

Scott Walters
  • Our People
|Dec 7, 2022

Through NIH HEAL Initiative, Dr. Scott Walters and colleagues accelerate fight against the nation’s opioid crisis

Four years ago, the National Institutes of Health introduced the unprecedented HEAL Initiative to address the nation’s public health crisis of opioid misuse, addiction and overdose. More than $2 billion has been invested in 1,000 research projects to date, spanning basic and clinical research ...
Wellest Team
  • On Campus
|Dec 6, 2022

Wellest Inc. founder Dave Sekowski partners with HSC faculty through Techstars program

For Dave Sekowski, founder and CEO of Wellest Inc., the road to wellness has not been easy. Growing up with limited access to healthy food and education about health and nutrition, he struggled with childhood obesity. “I had to take it upon myself to figure it out,” Sekowski said. “I joined...
IHI Banner
  • Patient Care
|Dec 6, 2022

TCOM leadership presents patient safety course to 2022 IHI forum

The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine’s innovative patient safety course and how to incorporate it into an academic curriculum was on display at the 2022 Institute for Healthcare Improvement Forum in Orlando, Florida.  Frank Filipetto, DO, CPPS, FACOFP, dean of TCOM, and Lillee Gelinas DNP...
Stephanie Ibekwe
  • Our People
|Dec 5, 2022

A voice for women in medicine

When Dr. Stephanie Ibekwe’s mother, Sarah, came home from her nursing job, she would tell her daughter stories about her patients and the conversations she had with them. “Nursing is pretty stressful, but my mom had an amazing way of handling things,” she said. “My mom really loved to bui...