Jean M. Marrero-Polanco

Why did you choose research as a career?

After volunteering at San Jorge Children and Women's Hospital in Puerto Rico, I knew I wanted a career focused on studying human disease to make a difference in the lives of patients. My goal as a biomedical researcher is to aid health care professionals and patients by identifying treatment outcome-related networks through machine learning and other artificial intelligence tools, using clinical and biological data sets. I believe that a healthier world is a better world. I want to contribute to this goal through my research.

What attracted you to Mayo Clinic to explore research?

With its reputation for supporting bench-to-bedside research, Mayo Clinic was my top choice for a graduate school program. I'm lucky to have mentors who are directly or indirectly involved with the patient community and who can discuss these data sets with me. We also have multiple channels for collaboration with other institutions that I would not have had in other graduate programs.

Why did you choose Dr. Athreya's lab?

Dr. Athreya embodies the qualities of a principal investigator who looks after his students' well-being. He engages with his lab weekly and attempts to engage with department students through different means. From how he lectures, to his openness to help other students and faculty, to giving actionable feedback and taking care of his lab, I couldn't have asked for a better thesis mentor and supportive lab.

What are your plans for the future?

I'm excited about the potential for artificial intelligence to revolutionize health care, and I'm committed to continually learn and grow in this exciting field. In the long term, I'm drawn to the idea of becoming a principal investigator and professor at an academic institution where I can continue conducting research as well as help cultivate the growth and development of future professionals. As a first-generation scientist, I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned and the support I've received. And I hope to pay it forward by sharing my experiences with others.