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Congratulations, Dr. Botero!

May 21, 2023


This month, Dr. Valentina Botero successfully defended her doctoral dissertation and graduated with her PhD.


It has been an incredible journey working with Val as she earned her PhD. She joined our lab in 2016, then an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College. That summer, she carried out an incredibly productive research project examining how Nf1 regulates metabolism via effects on neuronal circuits. At the end of the summer, she continued her research at Mount Holyoke in the lab of Ken Colodner while finishing her degree. Moving forward, she applied to, and was accepted in multiple outstanding graduate programs, including the Skaggs School for Chemical and Biological Sciences, where she enrolled for her PhD. After rotating in a couple labs (including a highly productive rotation in Damon Page's lab), she joined our lab and continued to push the envelope with her Nf1 research. Val's dissertation research produced four publications (more on the way), including a first-author Nature Communications paper.


On May 12th, Val successfully defended her PhD dissertation on site at the UF Scripps campus. Multiple members of her family were in attendance, and several members of the lab were able to make the trip, including Aaron and Genesis. Thank you to those who tuned in remotely as well.


Celebration dinner at Elisabetta's Ristorante in West Palm Beach followed with lab members, friends, and family.


The commencement was held on May 19th at Scripps Research on the La Jolla campus in San Diego. Congratulations, Dr. Botero!


Dr. Botero's research was carried out in collaboration with the labs of William Ja, Alex Keene, and James Walker, and with the advice of multiple individuals, including Jenna Levy (Page Lab) and Cori MacMullen (Davis lab). Her training was supported by an NIH F31 predoctoral fellowship, and seeded new research directions in our lab. We thank the dissertation committee members Damon Page, Ron Davis, Baoji Xu, and external examiner David Gutmann for their input, advice, and support.


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