Student Corner: Rossi Irobalieva

Feb. 1, 2013

Rossi Irobalieva
Rossi Irobalieva
  • Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at BCM

Currently in her sixth year of training at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at BCM, Irobalieva completed her undergraduate training in bioinformatics and computational biology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

She was blown away by the resources available in the Texas Medical Center as well as by the collaboration not only between the different labs at BCM, but also with other institutions.

Irobalieva is currently in the structural and computational biology and molecular biophysics program and is studying in Dr. Wah Chiu's lab at the National Center for Macromolecular Imaging. Her research focuses on determining the structure of a small piece of the HIV genome via electron microscopy.

"As most people know, HIV is an ever-evolving virus, which presents a challenge when treating patients. Currently the solution is a cocktail of drugs with the hope that if one stops working, then there is a backup. The current drugs target different viral proteins. However, the viral genome is another alternative that could be a great target," she said.

While at BCM, she has volunteered in the Saturday Morning Science program at BCM, a community outreach program for 7th through 12th graders from underserved areas in greater Houston designed to excite their interest in science through lectures from BCM faculty and small break-out sessions led by BCM students. She also served as the vice president of the Association for Graduate Student Diversity during her first two years at BCM and served on the Graduate Student Council.

Irobalieva hopes to defend her thesis later this year and plans on pursuing a postdoctoral position upon graduation to further her knowledge and research abilities. She also hopes to continue her involvement in science education and outreach.

"I am very passionate about science education and I find that a lot of people avoid science because of a bad academic experience or because they do not see how it applies to real life. Also, as scientists we often fail to convey our work to the general public and there are a lot of scientific misconceptions out there. It is critical for us to educate the public about what we are doing."