Local native accepted to green scholars program

Rebecca Schneider Aguirre, a 1997 graduate of South Williamsport Area High School, graduated summa cum laude and a member of Phi Beta Kappa from Muhlenberg College in 2001 with bachelor’s degrees in biology and Spanish. While at Muhlenberg, Aguirre was active in the peer tutoring program and led workshops for freshman and sophomore biology classes.

She combined her two majors by studying biology in Spanish while abroad in Spain for a semester. Her senior honors thesis examined “The Effects of Metamorphosis on Ambystoma mexicanum (the axolotl) Limb Regeneration,” and she earned the designation of graduating with highest honors in biology.

Aguirre enrolled at Baylor College of Medicine in 2001 and joined the department of molecular and cellular biology in 2003. After spending a few years working on the Sulfonylurea Receptor, she joined the lab of Saul Karpen, MD, PhD in 2007 where she completed her dissertation, “SUMOylation of Liver RXR?: a New Modification of a Central Liver Gene Regulator,” in 2011. She has presented her work at several meetings, including the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

Aguirre served the Medical Scientist Training Program as a member of the Student Operating Committee while at Baylor College. She has mentored inner city students and introduced them to the laboratory during the summer as part of the Bioscience Inspiration and Opportunities for Students Program. She also was awarded a National Science Foundation fellowship to partner with a high school science teacher in an inner city school to teach biology.

In addition to her activities at Baylor College, she has volunteered to teach English as a second language and also volunteered as a counselor at a camp for children with diabetes. She worked as a community advocate and organizer with The Metropolitan Organization.

Aguirre plans to move to Indianapolis to pursue a combined internal medicine and pediatrics (Med/Peds) residency at Indiana University. She has been accepted to IU’s Morris Green Academic Scholars program, which helps to foster the careers of developing physician scientists. She plans to eventually pursue a fellowship in endocrinology.