Meet Patricia Valdespino Castillo, a postdoc who’s been at the Lab for three-and-a-half years, working in both the Biosciences and Earth and Environmental Sciences Areas. Working at the intersection of omics and chemical imaging, she studies the structure, function, and responses of environmental microbial systems. As part of the Berkeley Synchrotron Infrared Structural Biology (BSISB) user program, she assists researchers using synchrotron technologies. Among her proudest moments at the Lab? Recently, she was among the finalists of the SLAM pitch contest for postdocs and early career scientists.
As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Valdespino Castillo answers three questions for Elements:
What was your journey to Berkeley Lab like?
My journey was truly fortunate. I applied for several different postdoc fellowship programs, but luckily was accepted by the UC-MEXUS CONACyT program, which allowed me to conduct research here at the Lab for two years. It is such a privilege to work here. My group is full of talented, interesting, and creative people who love science.
Is there any part of your culture you draw from to inform your work at the Lab?
I guess Hispanic and Latino people have developed some adaptation skills. There is a hard-to-explain connection that seems to push us to do things together. For example, after being here for only a few weeks, Cinta Gómez Silván and Javier Ceja Navarro offered to help me with my research. We performed experiments together and now have manuscripts prepared for submission, and along the way, have developed a strong personal and academic bond.
What are some of your favorite ways to connect with your culture?
I connect with my Mexican heritage through food and music, but I am very passionate about sharing my love of science with youth in Latin American countries. Through science communication, I want to expose them to this very important field of study and challenge their developing minds.