Support The World's Smartest Network

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

This site uses cookies.
Learn more.


This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

Webinar: Is a Postbac Right for You?



Webinar: Is a Postbac Right for You?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By


Join this Webinar to learn more about post baccalaureate (postbac) programs for recent college graduates in order to gain research and scientific experience after obtaining an undergraduate degree. Learn about types of postbac programs and how they can strengthen your application to PhD programs in the biomedical sciences.

Description and Rationale

Many post baccalaureate (postbac) programs are structured to provide recent college graduates who are planning to apply to PhD programs in the biomedical sciences an opportunity to spend one or two years performing full-time research at the different institutions. During this time, students have the opportunity to develop research skills and build strong scientific credentials that will assist them in applying to graduate school and pursuing a career in scientific research.

In this Webinar we will discuss the basic structure of postbac programs, the application process, and who is eligible to apply. Speakers will provide information on three postbac programs in biomedical research and advice on applying to and succeeding in these programs and beyond.

This Webinar is intended for senior undergraduate students or recent college graduates who seeking opportunities to build research skills and apply to biomedical PhD programs in the future.

Webinar Connection

Recommended browsers for participating in the Webinar: Internet Explorer, FireFox, and Safari.  Google Chrome is not recommended — it has connection issues that will impact your ability to view / see / participate in the webinar.

Registration Pricing

This event is free, but registration is required. Your registration will be complete upon receipt of a confirmation email. If you do not receive a confirmation, please contact for assistance.


Yaihara Fortis Santiago, PhD (organizer and moderator)

The New York Academy of Sciences

Arnaldo Díaz Vázquez, PhD

Assistant Dean for Research Training Programs and Director of Recruitment and Retention of Diversity Scholars
University of Pennsylvania

Arnaldo Diaz, PhD, is the Assistant Dean for Research Training Programs, Director of the Recruitment and Retention of Diversity Scholars and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). Dr. Diaz works collaboratively with University leadership to develop and coordinate targeted recruitment strategies and provide academic and professional career development for underrepresented minority (URM) trainees across the full spectrum of undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate programs in the biomedical sciences. He directs the Summer Undergraduate Internship Program (SUIP), the Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PennPREP), and co-directs the PENN–Postdoctoral Opportunities in Research and Teaching (PENN-PORT) program. He works closely with Program members by advising them, monitoring their progress, and assisting them with the graduate school admission process and fellowships. Additionally, Dr. Diaz serves as liaison to The Leadership Alliance, an academic consortium working to develop underrepresented students into leaders. Dr. Diaz received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico–Rio Piedras, a PhD in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University, and completed postdoctoral training in Cancer Pharmacology at Penn.

Elena Hernández-Ramón, PhD

Scientific Program Manager, Office of Intramural Training and Education
National Institutes of Health

Dr. Elena E. Hernández-Ramón investigated the effects of epilepsy in pregnancy during her MD thesis and after that, she investigated the integration sites of human papillomavirus (HPV) into the human genome in her Masters in Genetics and Molecular Biology. She continued working on HPV during her graduate studies in the University of York, UK, investigating the structure and function of the HPVE2 transcription factor, and discovered that the dimerization of the HPV 16 E2 N terminal domain results in DNA looping within the upstream regulatory region. Dr. Hernández-Ramón worked as a Research Associate in the Hospital General de México for two years and then started a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she worked on the carcinogenic effects of tamoxifen. Her results showed that tamoxifen binds to the DNA forming adducts and suggested DNA damage as a possible mechanism responsible for endometrial cancer. Education and mentoring have been an important part of Dr. Hernández-Ramón's career. She was an Adjunct Professor at the Northern Virginia Community College from 2011–2014, and is currently a Scientific Program Manager at the Office of Intramural Training and Education at National Institutes of Health, where she is a pre-medical advisor and interacts mainly with post-bac students. She was the recipient of the 2016 Association for Women in Science (AWIS) Bethesda Mentoring Award.

Luz M. Cumba García

Graduate Student
Mayo Clinic

Luz Milbeth Cumba Garcia is a first year Immunology PhD student at Mayo Graduate School. She has been working at Mayo Clinic for 2 years now, since she joined the Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) in 2014. During her first year at Mayo, Luz worked with Dr. Marina Ramirez Alvarado on the structure of amyloid proteins from amyloidosis patient samples. Then, she transitioned to the lab of Dr. Aaron Johnson where she worked on the pathologic contribution of T cells during acute neuroinflammation, which resulted in one publication.

Originally from Puerto Rico, in 2012 Luz graduated from the Universidad Metropolitana with a bachelors in Cellular and Molecular Biology, where she studied sexual reproduction of the plant Chamaecrista, as well as HIV epidemiology which resulted in 2 publications.

Luz has conducted research in different countries including a summer research program at the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, a summer program in Germany, with the Nobel Laureate Harald zur Hausen and research program at the Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine Lopez Neyra in Granada, Spain. In 2013, Luz obtained her master's degree from the same institution in Spain, where she studied the role of CD38 in a lupus mouse model.

In 2014 she taught basic science skills to college science students in China before being recruited to Mayo Clinic's PREP/Postbac program. She enjoys traveling, shopping, exercising and volunteering at the Pediatric Unit in Mayo Clinic Saint Mary's Hospital.