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Our Students & Postdocs

Meet some of the Latin American/Latinx student and young scholar community at McMaster University. Visit their profiles to learn more about their research and feel free to connect with them!

Are you a Latin American/Latinx graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, medical student or medical resident, please send an email latam@mcmaster.ca and we’ll add you here!

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Aidee Verónica Arizpe Tafoya Learn More

Ph.D. Candidate

 am Aidee, a passionate Mexican Materials Engineer. I graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. This degree opened my curiosity about how the world around me worked, which led me to dive into research labs. Throughout my academic career, I was fascinated by the combination of engineering + health sciences and fueled by the desire to contribute to the advancement of these fields, in 2022 I had the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. in the Biomedical Engineering program at McMaster University.  

Currently, my research revolves around the world of multi-material 3D bioprinting for disease modeling. In the lab, our group works on developing innovative techniques and materials to 3D print tissues that accurately mimic human physiology and pathology.  

Elizabeth Arango Ruda Connect with Elizabeth

Ph.D. Candidate in Earth & Environmental Sciences

I am a Forester-Hydrologist graduate from la Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Medellin, Colombia. I study the energy, water, and carbon fluxes within forest ecosystems. My research primarily revolves around tropical and temperate regions, explicitly focusing on renowned areas such as the Amazon rainforest and the Carolinian forest in southern Ontario, Canada. Through my work, I aim to understand better the intricate relationships between these vital ecological components and their influence on the overall functioning of forest ecosystems.

 

María Belén Miguel Connect with María Belén

M.A. Student 

María Belén Miguel is a graduate student in the Master’s in Health and Aging at McMaster. She is interested in aging studies and art, sometimes merging both fields in research. Her work as a research assistant at Gilbrea Centre, for example, has given her the opportunity to mentor a painting class for students and older adults in the context of an intergenerational project. Her current research focuses on self-reported benefits regarding intergenerational programming, and her Bachelor’s thesis was on pictorial changes of paintings made by artists with Alzheimer’s disease. She is interested in merging art with aging programming/research.

José David Bermúdez Castro Connect with José David

Postdoctoral Fellow

I was born in Barranquilla, Colombia.  In 2009, I earned my undergraduate degree in Electronic Engineering from Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia. In 2013, I moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I got my M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in 2015 and 2019, respectively, in Electrical Engineering from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), Brazil. During my M.Sc. and Ph.D., I specialized in Computer Vision, Pattern Recognition, Deep Learning, and Remote Sensing.

Curiosity drives me to improve myself, gain knowledge, explore, seek novelty, and to be happy. I am developing novel mechanisms, including Deep Learning algorithms, to quantify the annual net carbon flux of all forest ecosystems in Canada, including carbon fixed through plant primary production, and carbon emissions through land cover change and disturbance. The project involves the use of satellite-based LIDAR, optical and SAR observations, and forest inventory data.

Diana Carolina Chaparro Buitrago, MD, MSc Connect with Diana

Ph.D. Candidate, Global Health 

I have wide experience working in international health organizations, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and the private sector in Colombia and Guatemala. Through my career as a physician and global health specialist, I gained valuable insights about the challenges many families face in accessing primary health care services, significantly impacting their social development and well-being. These experiences made me aware of the difficulties in meeting the demands for basic healthcare, especially for those living in rural and isolated areas.

Currently, I am a 3-year Ph.D. candidate in the Global Health program. My doctoral research explores the meanings and perceptions surrounding adolescent pregnancy, motherhood, fatherhood, and reproductive health practices for indigenous people in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. By engaging with indigenous adolescents, community members, and key stakeholders, I will gain a comprehensive understanding of the discourses and narratives related to sexual and reproductive health. This research holds significant potential for informing future directions on adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health programs and policies in this context.

Alexis-Carlota Cochrane Connect with Alexis-Carlota

Ph.D. Candidate

Alexis-Carlota Cochrane (she/they/ella) is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Communication Studies and Media Arts at McMaster University.

Alexis’ research explores online identity, digital culture, and algorithmic censorship through Latin American narrative epistemologies, analyzing how identity, power and censorship intersect on platforms. She is currently a Graduate Resident at the Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship and a Graduate Affiliate at Northwestern University’s Centre for Latinx Digital Media. Alexis is interested in connecting about all things identity, culture, and technology. 

Valeria Flores Zambrano Connect with Valeria

MA Student 

Valeria Flores is a graduate student in the Master’s in History program at McMaster University. She specializes in International Relations and Human Rights history. She was part of the team responsible for the Child Protection & the Rights of the Child conference hosted by the Center for Human Rights and Restorative Justice, had a backgrounder on the Guatemalan Historical Clarification Commission published in the Confronting Atrocity website, and participated in the CityLAB program to develop a Housing Sustainability & Investment Plan for the city of Hamilton. She recently completed a Bachelor of Arts in Honours History and a minor in English & Cultural Studies, graduating Summa Cum Laude from McMaster. Alongside her responsibilities as Project Support Assistant for LALS-MP, Valeria is currently a Student Partner developing an experiential learning resource hub with the faculty of Humanities, and is working with Dr. Michael Egan as a Research Assistant developing modules for Dr. Egan’s upcoming courses.

Millaray Freire-Archer Connect with Millaray

Medical Student

Millaray Freire-Archer is a 2nd year medical student at the DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster. She is interested in immigrant and refugee health, and social medicine. For her, LANMU has been key to finding community within McMaster, along with academic and professional support. She is dedicated to Latin American representation in medicine and health sciences, and supporting students interested in careers in healthcare through LAHSSSI and LANMU in general.

Karla Martínez Pomier Connect with Karla

Ph.D. Candidate

Karla Martínez Pomier is a PhD Candidate in the Chemical biology PhD program who is originally from Havana, Cuba.

She is an accomplished young researcher who has been awarded an NSERC Doctoral Canada Graduate Scholarship in 2023 and in 2022 she also received a McMaster Institute for Research in Aging (MIRA) PhD Scholarship. Her research focuses on molecular mechanisms that lead to age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s and cancer.

Caio Miranda Miliante Connect with Caio

Ph.D. Student

Caio Miranda Miliante is currently a Ph.D. student in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at McMaster University. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he moved to Porto Alegre, Brazil to attend the Chemical Engineering program at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. There his research focused on gaining atomic insights through computational simulations for the development of greener refrigeration systems. Continuing with his focus on sustainability, his current research revolves around the computational screening of cathodes for Zinc-ion batteries. When not debugging his simulations, drinking coffee, or reading articles, Caio enjoys watching his football team Botafogo F.R. play and listening to Jazz.

Javier Miranda Connect with Javier

Ph.D. Candidate

My name is Javier, and I am an international Ph.D student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. I was born in Riobamba-Ecuador, a breathtaking city in the Andean mountains’ heart. I completed my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. I enjoy the academic and research environment and the application of new technologies in the industry. In 2021, I joined the SIM3P research group to enhance my research skills further and contribute to advancing knowledge concerning the post-processing of additive-manufactured parts.

Currently, my work is focused on studying the high-temperature mechanical behavior and microstructural evolution of beta Ti alloys. The formation mechanisms of metastable phases and alpha at different solutionizing and aging conditions. Also, how to apply this understanding to improve the mechanical properties of as-built additive manufacturing pieces.

Luis Navarro del Angel Connect with Luis

PhD Candidate 

Luis Navarro del Angel is a new media artist and a Ph.D. candidate in the program of Communication, New Media, and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. His artistic practice revolves around electronic Latin dance music by means of software and code. He is a member of Grupo D’Binis, an audiovisual electronic cumbia duo whose second half is the visual artist and McMaster student Jessica Rodriguez. Luis is interested in community engagement through public talks and workshops. In 2020, he organized a series of conversation circles where people from Latin America in Hamilton and worldwide joined to discuss how issues of national identity, ethnicity, social class, and gender influence music technologies

Joaquín E. Reyes Gonzalez Connect with Joaquín

Ph.D. Candidate

I am a Materials Engineer born in Aguascalientes, Mexico. I obtained my bachelor’s degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. From 2018 to 2020, I volunteered in a research group, gaining valuable experience in synthesis and characterization techniques for semiconductor nanoparticles. This experience sparked my interest in electron microscopy, which led me to join McMaster University in 2021 as a master’s student in the Materials Science and Engineering Department, in 2023 I successfully transferred into the Ph.D. program.

In my research, I use advanced Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy techniques to investigate the collective atomic vibration of crystalline solids, known as phonons. Specifically, I focus on studying the properties of phonons near structural features like defects or interfaces in semiconductors.

 

Katy Celina Sandoval Connect with Katy

Ph.D. Candidate

Katy Celina is a Ph.D. Neuroscience Candidate and the proud founder of the Poderosas Circle initiative. Katy is a 1st generation Latina grad student in STEM, a knowledge mobilizer and a mentor. Originally from Montreal, Katy Celina has a Salvadorean background and is fluent in Spanish, French, and English. She is a NSERC Ph.D. recipient at McMasterU to conduct research in Dr. Katrina Choe’s Lab. Her focus lies in investigating the role of oxytocin in social and stress behaviour using an autism mouse model. She is also a site coordinator for Let’s Talk Science at McMasterU and leads different workshops about time management, project management, thesis writing, and grad school applications. Katy recognized the need for a supportive community for Latin American womxn at McMaster University and founded the Poderosas Circle initiative. She is committed to empowering and inspiring Latinas in academia and younger minds by sharing her experiences and expertise.