INRO Spotlight—An Incubator To Explore, Learn, and Succeed





Headshot of INRO participant Mathieu Perez.

Mathieu Perez, former postbac in the Human Eosinophil Section of the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases and INRO participant.

Credit
Mathieu Perez

Mathieu Perez, former postbac in the Human Eosinophil Section of the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases and INRO participant.

Credit:
Mathieu Perez

Mathieu Perez is an M.D./Ph.D. candidate at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and an NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholar. He is a former postbac in the Human Eosinophil Section of the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, where he worked under the supervision of Amy Klion, M.D. He was also part of the Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO) cohort in 2020. He details his postbac experience in NIAID, the unique experience of the INRO initiative, and his path to becoming a physician-scientist. Read about Mathieu’s experience at NIAID and his next steps.

Tell me about your postbac research and how it contributed to NIAID’s mission.

My postbac research experience at NIAID was a revealing time in my scientific journey. For the first time I felt part of a fluid mosaic of research fields with people whose primary objective is to further science for the improvement of clinical outcomes and ultimately human health. 

What inspired you to conduct postbac research at NIAID? ​​​​

After graduating college with a B.S./M.S. in biochemistry with a concentration in biophysics, my developing curiosity in the translation of basic research into tailored patient treatment and care brought me to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). I was ambitious to explore translational research to attain my goal of becoming a physician-scientist—a role that will allow me to innovate and expand our knowledge of medicine through basic science investigation. 

What did you enjoy most about being a postbac at NIAID? 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic prevented many postbacs from fully experiencing research at the NIH in 2020, I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to go to lab and carry on with my project. More importantly, the time I spent with other lab members and fellow postbacs allowed me to form a network of people who became close friends. 

Explain how your experience as part of INRO was unique? 

I like to think of INRO as an incubator where my fellow INRO cohort and I were nurtured and cared for during our time in the program. I’m thankful to the INRO coordinators—I’m especially grateful for Dr. Jennifer West’s mentorship throughout the year. This mentorship, along with that received from my lab mentor and other professionals at NIH, has made my time here a unique opportunity to succeed. 

How did your experience at NIAID/NIH influence your next steps?

My postbac at the NIH gave me the opportunity to explore translational research, allowing me to magnify how to conduct this type of research and what the life of a successful physician-scientist looks like. In addition, being part of INRO allowed me to be mentored by Amy Klion, M.D., who became one of my role models. Dr. Klion not only guided me through my research project, but also believed in my ability to be an independent thinker.

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