Since Gustavo Martinez, a graduate research assistant in the Immunology Department at MD Anderson, began the program, he’s had quite a few surprises.
He didn’t expect to be so impressed by the number of things to do in Houston, including sports and cultural events and outdoor activities. And he’s been taken off guard that he likes it so much. But, most importantly he’s amazed by what he’s been able to accomplish.
“I’ve published papers as a co-author in two of the most prestigious journals in the immunology field – Nature and Immunity,” Martinez says. “Also, I was able to attend the Summer Program at the RIKEN research institute in Japan. I achieved things before the end of my second year as a graduate student that I never would have thought possible before coming here.”
Martinez, who received his master’s degree from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, studies the roles of two T cell populations that have opposing functions in the immune system.
He says MD Anderson is extraordinary because of the possibility of merging basic science and translational research. “Not many places in the world are capable of combining basic science and translational research in the same institution,” he says. “This gives MD Anderson a huge advantage.”
Martinez also is impressed by the possibilities for collaboration at the institution. “Within the same department, so many labs are hard at work addressing completely different questions,” he says. “No matter what the question, you always can find an expert.”
After he completes his studies, Martinez would like to become a professor at a major university and have his own lab. “I want to contribute to the knowledge of how our bodies work and use that knowledge to fight against diseases – not only cancer but autoimmune disorders and diseases caused by pathogens.”