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CIE Researcher of Distinction, April 2019


Moises O. Guardado Rivas
Moises Guardado

Each month, the Center for Inclusive Education showcases the outstanding research being conducted by one of our talented scholars in our Research Café series. In addition, we recognize this scholar as a Researcher of Distinction and share the details of his/her journey to becoming an accomplished scholar. This month's Researcher of Distinction is Moises O. Guardado Rivas, PhD candidate in Genetics. Moises presented his work, ‘Understanding cancer metabolism, from research question to chemotherapy on Thursday, April 18, 2019.



Moises was born in San Salvador, El Salvador. He grew up there and came to the US when he was around 16. He went to Brentwood High School. After high school he enrolled at Suffolk County Community College, and after some time he transferred to Stony Brook, majoring in Chemistry, later switched to Biochemistry. As an undergraduate he joined the Zachar/Bingham lab, working on the mechanism of action of a novel chemotherapeutic, CPI-613. Later he joined the master’s degree in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology, and then transitioned to the PhD program in Genetics. Moises is an AGEP-T FRAME, Bridge to the Doctorate and Turner Fellow in the CIE. 

MOISES' Current Research

Describe the work you presented for your Research Café.

Although a rare cancer, pancreatic cancer has a low survival rate (8.5% of patients survive past 5 years after diagnosis). The data suggest that around 1 in 62 individuals will develop pancreatic cancer in their lives. With the numbers of deaths per year increasing rather than decreasing, there is an evident unmet need in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. We study the molecular mechanism of action of a novel drug (CPI-613) currently in clinical trials phase III. I will take this opportunity to share my experiences doing biomedical research and working for a small pharmaceutical company, and how CPI-613 has allowed us to understand more about cancer metabolism.

What was the deciding factor for you to come to Stony Brook for your graduate studies?

I was already familiar with Stony Brook when I applied to the PhD program. So, it was not surprising that I decided to come here. I think the most attractive part of SBU, was the active involvement in creating a diverse and collegial community, not only limited to the student body but also at the faculty level.

Are there any other projects, beyond your Research Café work, that you are currently working on? 

I am interested on the regulatory aspect of drug development. In addition to the molecular work I am actively engaged and learning the interplay between regulatory agencies (FDA in the US) and pharmaceutical companies leading to the approval and marketing of drugs. Managing potential conflicts of interests at the intersection between the law and biomedical research is an important facet of translational research.

What are your future goals?

Short-term, to graduate. My long-term goal is to apply the skills I learned during my PhD training in a career in Regulatory Affairs.

What do you enjoy most about research?

I like how knowledge gained through research can be used to address unmet needs. There is no shortage of problems that need to be solved. As researchers, we are trained to find ways to answers tricky questions; when no such “way” exists, we have to think of one.