Student Spotlight: Juliana Falero-Perez

Juliana Falero-Perez (x ’19, Sheibani Lab) recently defended her thesis and is making corrections before final deposit.  She spoke with Rob Lipinski about her research, what drew her to MET, and what she plans to do next.


Where are you from and what attracted you to the UW MET program? 

I’m from the enchanted island of Puerto Rico. I chose the UW MET program because of their diverse community of students, faculty members and facilities. The collaborative atmosphere and high-level research and discoveries are the perfect environment for any emerging scientific investigator.

Describe the focus of your thesis research project.

My research focus is on delineating the impact Cyp1b1 deficiencies have on retinal astrocytes function and how these could impact retinal neurovascular development and neovascularization. Ultimately, understanding the mechanisms associated with Cyp1b1 function and modulation of cellular reductive state may serve as a potential target for the development of new pharmacological approaches for therapeutic intervention. ​

What do you consider as your most interesting or exciting finding to-date?

Everything in my research is exciting. However, I still find my cells’ resilience to high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide fascinating.

What do you consider to be your most significant accomplishment or rewarding experience in graduate school? 

I’ve been fortune enough to have a great deal of accomplishment during my graduate studies. However, my proudest moments are being a published author and the recipient of a F31 grant.

What is your favorite outside-of-lab hobby?

I have a variety of hobbies. The ones I enjoy the most are reading, dancing, and walking alongside Lake Mendota.

Looking back, what advice would you give to a student who is just starting graduate school?

Time management and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you manage your time accordingly, you will have the best experience in graduate school. You will have a life, travel, meet new people, grow professionally and challenge yourself each day, just like I did. Would I have done this again? Hell yeah!

What has been your favorite part of living in Madison?

My favorite part of living in Madison is the serenity of this county. I love the farmers market, fairs and my favorite things are cheese curds!

What are your post-graduation career plans?

I plan to start my career in the private sector. I want to work for clinical research organizations dedicated to improving people’s health.

Looking back, what is your best memory from graduate school?

Wow, so many memories from the first winter storm to defending my thesis. My best memories are the late-night study sections with my friends at the Memorial terrace and my midnight experiments.