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Rocío del Mar Avilés-Mercado, Puerto Rico, USA, 19

Project: HuR Spatial Localization & p38 MAPK Phosphorylation

Basic Human Needs: Health

After her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis, Rocío became interested in medical research and began investigating the development of similar diseases. In 2016, she was accepted into the American Chemical Society’s Project SEED program, which gave her the opportunity to conduct her research with the support of a laboratory. Her scientific insight on the proteins that are involved in regulating and causing disease has received numerous awards; the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the 32nd China Adolescents Science and Technology Innovation Contest in 2017 and the 2018 International Festival of Engineering Sciences and Technology in Tunisia, Africa. In August 2018, Rocío was also featured by the ACS 50 Forward Campaign to promote scientific education along with Chemistry Nobel Laureate, Sir Fraser Stoddart. She is now embarking on another research project she calls “undercovering DNA recognition rules of cardiac transcription factors.” This project investigates the proteins that are responsible for the development of the human heart. Through all of her research endeavors, Rocío aims to contribute to the understanding of illnesses and develop ways to prevent and cure them. In the future, she hopes to establish a foundation that teaches people of all ages about science as well as providing science education to disadvantaged students.