I grew up in a small town in Jalisco, Mexico. However, 12 years ago, my brother decided to come and spend one year in Canada. This allowed me to visit Vancouver for the very first time with all my family. Here, I fell in love with the city. I wanted to come back, so during my master's, I did a research visit (summer of 2015). In that visit, I met one professor who will become my co-supervisor, Sylvain Moreno and would introduce me to my primary supervisor Sam Doesburg. I knew since the first semesters in my bachelor's that I wanted to do research. One professor at my university gave me the opportunity to be her research assistant, and she functioned as well as a very positive role model. Since my bachelor's, I was deeply interested in neurodevelopmental disorders. I firmly believe that a timely intervention can change the lives of children and their entire family. So, I decided to focus on this topic, working on anything that could help develop better diagnostic and treatment methods. SFU gave me the opportunity to pursue this dream in a city that I love.
What you do:
My research is focused on the study of social communication in autism. Communication problems have always been considered a core feature of autism. Part of this struggle came from integrating contextual clues that usually help us interpret messages and intentions. So, I created two experiments to explore the integration of contextual information to interpret a message. For the first experiment, I used Electroencephalogram (EEG) to assess the differences between autistic and non-autistic children in their electrophysiological responses when assessing a message that demanded contextual information integration. For the second experiment, I used Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate differences in brain activation and connectivity between non-autistic adults and children and autistic children. This experiment consists of the presentation of videos with two types of social interactions that required the integration of contextual information to be assessed correctly.
Any advice you would give to starting graduates:
Seasonal depression is widespread in people that come from tropical countries like me, especially the first winter, so we should not forget to take our vitamin D and work out.
What’s your favourite quarantine snack?
Not the healthiest but it is Chips or popcorn with a lot of Mexican hot sauce and lemon! Also, I'm drinking a lot of smoothies, especially now in summer.
This post was originally posted to the SFU BPK Instagram on July 23, 2021