Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry
College: School of Integrated Science and Humanity at the College of Arts, Sciences & Education
At just 22, Lazaro Fernandez has helped conduct groundbreaking research in the field of neuroscience — and in a matter of months mastered techniques to study the brains of animals that normally take Ph.D. students years to accomplish.
As an FIU Honors College student, Lazaro took a class called the Biophysics of Neuroscience where he learned the basics on neuroscience and conducted mock research. He then got an opportunity to work in FIU Associate Professor Jorge Riera Diaz’s Neuronal Mass Dynamics Lab, where he researched how blood flows in the brain. He even developed a protocol on how to use certain drugs to study biochemical pathways in the brain.
While cells called neurons in the brain are the main focus of neuroscience research, Lazaro began examining other cells called astrocytes that are less understood. A better understanding of these cells could expand knowledge of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Lazaro first became interested in how the human brain works as a young child, when he could accompany his mother to the electroencephalography (EEG) lab where she worked. He was fascinated that she could see inside people’s brain and observe electrical activity.
Lazaro is currently applying to medical school and dreams of becoming a research physician to help further advance neuroscience and what we know of the human brain.
By Angela Nicoletti
College of Arts, Sciences & Education