top of page

María Román Vasquez

Graduate Student

  • Email_Icon
Maria Roman_edited.jpg

About Maria

 Maria is originally from Cali, Colombia, the salsa capital of the world (the dance, not the sauce), but has called the U.S her home since 2012. Her curiosity and passion for the ways in which different areas of knowledge intertwine, and how we can use science to better the world around us led her to Williams College, nestled in the Berkshire mountains in Massachusetts (an area filled with cows, alpacas, and expensive art). There, she explored many different fields, but realized the elegance, versatility, and importance of organic chemistry while working with professor Amanda Turek on synthesis and catalysis.


Her love of organic chemistry, combined with a passion for the biological sciences led her to also conduct research at Columbia University in New York with professor Brent Stockwell and Dr. Arie Zask, synthesizing small-molecule ferroptosis inhibitors.


In 2023, Maria started her PhD at UChicago, where, co-advised between the Snyder and Esser-Kahn labs, she hopes to continue growing as both a chemist and hopefully a biologist. 

Outside of lab, you can find María hanging out with her dog (Mr. Copper), dancing salsa, making and looking at art, attending the orchestra and ballet, cooking, making Spotify playlists that she will quickly forget about, buying books she will likely never finish, and exploring the city and other new places. 


B.A in Chemistry with a concentration in Neuroscience, Williams College, 2022

Favorite Quote

“Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting” - Haruki Murakami

“ I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited.” - Jorge Luis Borges.

Scientific Hero

Nubia Muñoz, a Colombian woman whose research has been crucial in establishing the role of HPV in cervical cancer, and finding a vaccine for the disease. 

A fun list of other latin-american women science heroes:

Favorite Paper

Lancaster, M. A., Renner, M., Martin, C.-A., Wenzel, D., Bicknell, L. S., Hurles, M. E., Homfray, T., Penninger, J. M., Jackson, A. P. and Knoblich, J. A. (2013). Cerebral organoids model human brain development and microcephaly. Nature 501, 373-379.

If you could be a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?

NMR - expensive, sensitive, needy… but will always guide you to the truth… and is very *attractive* 🧲🤓

Maria's Research

Maria is currently working on synthesizing small molecule immunomodulators, and formulating them for use with adjuvants to fine-tune the body’s immune response to vaccines.

bottom of page