My name is Susana Perez Martinez and I’m originally from Holguin, Cuba. I emigrated with my family to the United States when I was 16 years old, and settled immediately in Louisville, KY. I resumed my studies at the ESL Newcomer Academy at Jefferson County Public Schools, where I finished 11th grade and I was introduced to the English Language for the first time. Then, I attended Seneca where I finished the last year of high school and graduated with honors in 2013. During my senior year at Seneca, I was awarded numerous scholarships such as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the Migrant Network Coalition, and the Louisville Urban League Scholarship. Most honorably I received the GMS scholarship for my academic merits, leadership skills and community service. GMS is a full ride scholarship which funds are available for me to attend any university of my choice. Furthermore, this program gives me the funding necessary to pursue graduate studies in science and technology through master’s and doctoral degrees. I have given back to the community by meeting annually with ESL students and providing motivation, guidance, leadership, and ensuring to answer all their questions and concerns. I also volunteered as a tutor for elementary students and as a child care assistant. I enrolled at the University of Louisville (UofL) where I completed my bachelor's degree in Biology and graduated with honors in May 2017. I participated in two plant-based research projects as an undergraduate student in Dr. Running's lab. One of the projects focused on turning moss into algae since it gives the potential for protein expression and bio-fuel applications. The other research project concentrated on the expression of specific fungal proteins with the purpose of binding enzymes to nanomembranes, which can be used to break down plant materials. Working in the lab as an undergraduate student inspired me to pursue my PhD in molecular, cellular and developmental biology. I am currently in my second year of the PhD program, and studying the role of prenylation, along with the functional role of the prenylation components in the moss Physcomitrella patens. Because of my teaching skills professors have invited me to lecture in introductory biology courses for undergraduate students. And I have also lectured on plant development to undergraduate and graduate students.

Research Areas:
Genetics, Development, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Applied Plant Biology


Volunteer Activities

Voluntary one-on-one conference with ESL students, Louisville,KY 2013-Present:

-Talks on how to adapt to a new country, language, and culture

-Prepare them for the transition to a regular school

-Talks about the importance of academic achievement, strong leadership and community service

Voluntary Agricultural work June 2013- July 2013 Holguin, Cuba:

-Collaborated in the Agricultural Program picking up crops, such as tomatoes, squash, corn, and potatoes

-Involved in activities such as painting, decorating shelters, taking away the fungus from plants, feeding and caring animals, planting trees, and sanitation of the water 

Child care assistant teacher (80 hours) June 2012 – July 2012 Wesley House Community Service Louisville, KY

-Conducted activities such as, diapering children, feeding children, caring for children during nap-time, and maintain hygienic conditions 

-Stimulated children through didactic games 

Elaborated and Created teaching’s materials Tutor for Elementary students 2012- 2013 Goldsmith Elementary School Louisville, KY 

-Instructed students about correct spelling, decoding and pronunciation of sounds Implemented continuous reading strategy for students

-Evaluated students’ learning skills

Undergrad Research Assistant, University of Louisville, PI: Dr. Mark Running 2015-2017
Responsible for plant handling, genotyping through PCR and DNA prepping and developing moss lines harboring mutations

GMS Mentor and Advocate, many states in the US and Cuba
Mentored GMS scholars, United States

Guest Lecturer
Climates, Biomes, and Carbon flow (BIOL 102), UofL 

Plant Development (BIOL 443/643), UofL

Molecular Biology (BIOL 329) UofL

Current Affiliations
Experience & Education