Jillian Ramos

Graduate Student, The Fu Lab

You work in a laboratory.  What are you currently researching?

I work in Dr. Dragony Fu’s lab where I look at a population of people that have intellectual disability due to a mutation in a protein that is known to modify tRNA. I am trying to determine why a single mutation in a protein leads to this disorder.

What was it that originally sparked your interest in biology?

When I was in high school things were VERY difficult financially for my family. I was so hesitant to ask my parents for $200 dollars so that I could go on a weekend AP Biology trip to Catalina Island (an island close to my hometown). It was on that trip that I looked at ocean water under a microscope and saw phytoplankton.  That was the moment I knew I wanted to go into science, realizing there was so much out there that we couldn’t see and so much left to discover. Thanks mom and dad!

What’s the most important thing that you’ve learned working here and/or studying biology?

I have learned that your research project is not a reflection of you, your efforts, or your capabilities. Don’t let it define you.

How do you think our biology department stands out in comparison to other universities?

I think our department has a cameraderie that can’t always be found elsewhere. Both among the students and with the faculty. I think wherever you turn you will find someone willing to help you.  The Department also has such diverse research labs that you will always be learning something new.

How do you unwind when you’re not in the lab?

I am a competitive powerlifter, having held a national record and New York state records.