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Opportunity meeting with genomics

In 2003, I finished high school at a private school in the state of Mexico, and while my classmates showed their offers at various private universities (I also received one), I was worried about studying for success. The entrance exam at UNAM. My interest in UNAM was guided by its excellent reputation in the field of exact and natural sciences.

I had the privilege of having my family support me to take a preparatory course thus bridging some inevitable gaps due to attending one high school; Fortunately, this course filled them up in record time. As far as I know, out of many applicants, I was the only one of my generation who passed the exam and was accepted into UNAM. My original plan was to major in biology, and as I was browsing the page, awaiting results, I came across an intriguing ad for a major called Genomics. It seemed very strange, and thus caught my attention; I read about it, submitted my application, and after a very stressful interview, I was accepted. At the time, I didn’t know how much making this decision would change my life.

My experience at UNAM was different from average, but no less rich for that. I studied my profession, Genomics, only at the Morelos Campus of Onam University. Being part of the first generation of this profession meant that there was only one room and my university life was limited to interactions with my other 23 classmates. However, the fact that the course facilities were located between two research centers allowed us to have direct contact with some of the best researchers in country, who were our teachers and mentors. Taking live lessons from doctors Alejandro Alagon, Bolivar Zapata, Julio Collado, Susana López, among many others, was a real privilege.

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Likewise, we had the best facilities, with personal computers and a supercomputing suite at our disposal, all for the modest and nominal amount UNAM required as payment.

In this profession, I have made lasting friendships and many of my colleagues now work in companies or have research groups both in Mexico and abroad, for which we have accompanied each other on the path of academic life and supported us through the Ph.D. Postdocs and now directing our research groups. Also, perhaps due to the degree’s initial isolation, we have a very tight-knit community among alumni. It’s incredible to be able to write in a Facebook group and find job offers around the world, to be able to ask for advice about a city or country and even request accommodation for a science conference.

I thank the UNAM Foundation for supporting new generations of students to live the full university experience that UNAM has to offer. Their work is very important to allow access to higher education for outstanding students with limited financial resources.

I often remember the serendipitous event that made me see an interesting genomics ad that ended up changing my life. I appreciate every moment and owe a lot to UNAM. Fabulous!

Principal Investigator at the Advanced Genomics Unit, Cinvestaf, Irapuato, Guanajuato