Rojo-Gutiérrez, Rocío Patricia

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My name is Rocio Rojo, I was born in Sinaloa and spent my childhood in Sonora, Mexico. I studied a major in Biotechnology at the Instituto Tecnologico de Sonora (ITSON) and have a bachelor's degree as a Biotechnology engineer. After graduating, I moved to Monterrey and joined the Master of Science in Biotechnology program, at the Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey. The master's program had a specialty in Health Sciences and Biomedicine; which allowed me to develop a project that was mainly focused on cell therapy and manipulation/differentiation of stem cells. While performing my project, I learned laboratory techniques such as isolation of mouse and rat stem cells, cell culture and the formulation of culture media for induction of cell differentiation in stem cells. After finishing my studies, I started working at the Basic Research Department of the Tecnologico de Monterrey. There, I was given the opportunity to collaborate on several projects that involved bioenergetics assessment of oxidative stress in cardiac cells and the detection of protein biomarkers related to cancer. Then, I was offered a position as a PhD student at the laboratory of Professor David A. Hume, in the Department of Developmental Biology of the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Specifically, I performed my PhD studies at the Roslin Institute, where Dolly the sheep was cloned! My PhD project consisted on the characterization of an intronic element called "FIRE"; which is part of the Csf1r gene that is essential for the development and functionality of monocytes and macrophages. The main aim of my project was to study the relevance of FIRE within the native chromatin context. For this, I used the CRISPR/Cas9 system to delete FIRE from the genomic sequence and generated a FIRE knockout mouse model as well as two knockout mouse cell lines. During my doctoral studies, I acquired experience on the study, differentiation and genetic manipulation of murine stem cells, on the development of transgenic mouse models by using the CRISPR/Cas9 system, as well as on mouse colony management and breeding. By collaborating in additional side projects, I also learned how to perform phenotypic characterization of in vitro and in vivo murine models (at embryonic and adult stages) by using imaging, immunophenotyping, and molecular biology techniques. Once I obtained my PhD in Developmental Biology, I joined the Clinical Bioinformatics Research Group at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences of the Tecnologico de Monterrey and became a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Professor Víctor Treviño's laboratory. I am currently developing human cancer cell lines carrying specific cancer-related point mutations by using the CRISPR/Cas9 system, to assess the potential biological relevance of these genetic changes. In general, I am a professional who works under a problem-solving focus and enjoys both collaborative work and learning new skills. I am determined to pursue a scientific career on developmental biology and aim to establish research lines that combine bioinformatics and epigenetics with my current knowledge/expertise for the study of molecular effectors and epigenetic factors that might be involved in regulating stemness and differentiation of cells.