Dual degree DVM-Ph.D. (fourth year)
Viviana grew up in San Juan, PR, and in Tampa, FL, then received her B.A. in Neurobiology from Harvard University. Her interests shifted to immunology and lab animal medicine in the two years after graduating, during which time she worked in the Shiao Lab at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. She then moved to Ithaca to pursue a combined DVM/PhD at Cornell.
In her PhD, Viviana is studying the developmental regulation of the CD8+ T cell response to chronic stimulation. T cell exhaustion, which occurs after chronic T cell receptor stimulation, remains a major barrier in T cell immunotherapies for chronic infection and cancer alike. By gaining mechanistic understanding of the developmental pathways underlying T cell exhaustion, Viviana hopes to facilitate advances in both human and veterinary medicine.
In her free time, Viviana enjoys basking in the sun, practicing yoga, climbing rocks, and trying not to ruin new recipes.