Dual degree DVM-Ph.D. (first 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 during the two years after graduating, during which time she worked in a tumor immunology lab at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. She then moved to Ithaca to pursue a combined DVM/PhD at Cornell.
During her PhD, Viviana is studying the role of microRNAs in the post-thymic maturation of CD8 T cells. By understanding and manipulating how T cells change with age, she hopes to gain insight into the molecular processes underlying T cell exhaustion and the response to chronic infection.
In her free time, Viviana enjoys basking in the sun, practicing yoga, climbing rocks, and trying not to ruin new recipes.