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Not because I did not want to come back, but

it was difficult to leave my son at daycare after

only two months and think straight while being

sleep deprived,” she shares. “In spite of this, I was

lucky I could count on my husband. We worked

as a team to enjoy our family and still be produc-

tive in the lab.” Her advisor, Goodman, was also

a support during this time. “When I told her I

was pregnant she gave me a good piece of advice:

plan the experiments you want to do for 10–12

months after you come back from your mater-

nity leave and have everything written so you can

execute your plans straightforwardly,” Vásquez


In Vásquez and Cordero’s quest to maintain

two successful careers, Vásquez has found role

models in another married couple running a lab


Lily Jan


Yuh Nung Jan

. “The way

their research lines complement each other, ion

channel function and neuronal development, is

quite amazing,” she says. “One of the quotes in

Yuh Nung Jan’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute

profile has always fascinated me, especially be-

cause my husband and I started our lab a couple

of years ago, after receiving our postdoctoral train-

ing in somatosensation with the goal of studying

ion channel structure-function, electrophysiology,

and behavior: ‘It is relatively rare in science that

two researchers complement each other in ability

and in temperament such that the sum of the col-

laboration is more than the two parts.’”

The Biophysical Society has been a supportive

community for Vásquez over the years. “The So-

ciety has given me the opportunity to collaborate

and publish with people who otherwise I would

not have met. The Annual Meeting is the ideal

setting to broadcast the science we do in our lab

and to find and nurture long-term collaborators

and friends,” she says. “The first time I went, I

felt overwhelmed because I did not know anyone

and everything was too new and exciting. Now, it

feels as if I’m going to a family reunion. I use the

meeting every year to boost my enthusiasm and

recharge my batteries.” She has met many other

Latin American scientists at Biophysical Society

meetings and became involved with SOBLA,

the Sociedad de Biofísicos Latino Americanos, a

group with the goal of strengthening biophysics in

Latin America.

Outside of work, Vásquez loves to spend time

with her family. “Because we all live apart, I

always find the time to travel and meet with my

parents, siblings, and niblings,” she shares.

Vásquez offers this advice to biophysicists starting

out in their careers: “I would advise young bio-

physicists to follow what they are really passionate

about. I feel very lucky because I get paid to do

something that I love to do, and I always tell my

juniors that working in a research lab should not

feel like a job but instead something fun and en-

tertaining,” Vásquez says. “Curiosity should drive

their research and their willingness to explore

more and more everyday.”

2016 Biophysics Week Affiliate

Event Award Winner

Congratulations to

Pavle Andjus

, University of Belgrade, Serbia, who was selected from the 2016

Biophysics Week affiliate event organizers to receive a complimentary registration to the Society’s 2017

Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Biophysics Week event held by Andjus was a series of

popular public lectures at the Kolarac Foundation in Belgrade. This event was one of the many won-

derful affiliate events held by biophysicists around the world that made Biophysics Week a success.

We expect the next Biophysics Week, March 6-10, 2017, will be just as successful with enthusiastic

participation. Keep an eye out for the 2017 call for Biophysics Week affiliate events in fall of 2016.



University of Tennessee

Health Science Center


of Research

Functional and Structural

Basis of ion channels

involved in


Valeria Vásquez with her son.