Frank Veliz

Frank Veliz

Biochemistry Research Associate


Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, OH USA


There is a lot of trial and error in science and you need to be able to make adjustments and then optimize the steps that work.

Milestones

My road in life has taken me all over.
Graduated High School as an honors student and was accepted to UC Irvine
Struggled in undergrad to keep up with the course loads and difficulty of my major. Although I struggled early on, I finished strong by making the Dean's list and graduating in four years.
I wanted to go to med school, but I knew I needed to beef up my application. I volunteered in hospitals and worked in a medical clinic and laboratory in Los Angeles.
I was accepted to a masters program in Medical Physiology at Case Western Reserve University. It was here where I learned that medical research is what interests me instead of med school.
I became a laboratory manager for a biomedical engineering laboratory at CWRU focusing on cancer research and immunotherapies using plant viruses to target and eliminate cancer.
I now work on studying the structure and interaction of proteins with cancer therapies and other proteins to discover or improve upon cancer treatments.
Keep following my journey

Education

High School
Lancaster High School
Bachelor
Biology/Biological Sciences, General
University of California, Irvine
Graduate
Physiology, General
Case Western Reserve University

Career

Biochemistry Research Associate

Cancer Research

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Science
Medicine
Problem Solving

Day to Day

I take advantage of the cell's natural ability to make and package proteins by modifying cells to make high quantities of proteins that could be candidates for cancer therapies. I then release these proteins by breaking up the cells and use different solutions to purify only the proteins I am interested in, ignoring all the anything that the cells would normally make. I then test out these target proteins with different cancer drugs or even other proteins to see what works best.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Problem solving and critical thinking are incredibly important skills that develop overtime. There is a lot of trial and error in science and you need to be able to make adjustments and then optimize the steps that work. Collaboration is another critical aspect of science since you often will want or need to work with your peers to reach a goal. A lot of technical skills you will pick up along the way, since not all skills are taught in college courses.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Volunteer in a laboratory working on research you find interesting during your undergrad. That way you can see if you like the work and lifestyle. Then tailor the rest of your undergrad career to steer towards research. You do not necessarily need more than a bachelors degree to work in research, but it will certainly help further your career.

Recommended Education

My career is not related to what I studied. I'd recommend this path instead:

undergrad
Bachelor
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"Working in the medical sciences as a scientist is a waste of time. You will work long, hard hours for little pay, especially in academia."

Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation Immigrant