Athziri Marcial Rodriguez
My name is Athziri Marcial Rodríguez, and I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Spanish with a minor in Statistics and Data Science at St. Olaf College. My academic aspirations include earning my bachelor’s degree, participating in a national fellowship program, and then applying to MD-PhD programs. My professional goal is to conduct genetic research to improve treatment approaches and prevention methods in the Latine/Hispanic community.
This summer, I am working in Dr. Peter Jin’s bioinformatics lab at Washington University in St. Louis, focusing on investigating the genetic underpinnings of rare genetic diseases. Dr. Jin’s lab aims to define new targets for risk determination, prevention, and therapy. My research applies bioinformatics tools to identify de novo variants of congenital hydrocephalus (CH) patients. CH describes the drainage failure of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and subsequent abnormal accumulation of CSF in the brain of newborns. With approximately 69,000 reported cases of CH in the United States each year, this condition makes up one-third of all congenital malformations in the nervous system; however, the genetic etiologies of this rare disease remain understudied. Given the severity of CH in addition to the inefficiency of its treatment, a pressing need exists to understand the genetic architecture of CH to improve therapeutic approaches.