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Oscar B

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Case Western Reserve University


Drosophila melanogaster, Genetics, Neuroscience, Meiosis, circadian clocks, Proteomic Networks, -Omic databases


My name is Oscar and I am a Hispanic first-generation Ph.D. Candidate who is extremely passionate about mentorship. I attribute my success in academia to the multiple mentors that I've had throughout my scientific career, thus I want to pay it forward by helping diverse students who want to pursue research. I've been mentoring high school students from underprivileged high schools in my area and teaching them the skills necessary to digest research articles and to think for themselves. My long-term research interest involves understanding the molecular components, interactions, and mechanisms by which meiotic DNA double-stranded breaks are processed into crossovers and noncrossovers. I am particularly interested in utilizing a proximity labeling protein, APEX2, as an approach to preferentially biotinylate proteins that closely interact with known crossover proteins in order to generate a list of novel interactors. The goal of my dissertation research is to produce an interaction map of proteins that are involved in each part of meiotic recombination. Aside from research, I am an audiophile! I've been playing viola since middle school and haven't stopped since. I love music so much so that I have over 100 vinyls in my record collection. My son is also sharing the passion as he loves to hear me play my guitar. I also love the outdoors. Whenever I get the chance, I'll take long hikes with my family and my dog.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Regulation of circadian clocks

Sleep is known to be governed by two distinct processes: a circadian clock that aligns sleep and wakefulness to the solar day and the sleep homeostat that encodes for sleep debt as a compensatory mechanism against sleep loss. Circadian regulation of sleep is a fundamental process that allows animals to anticipate sleepiness or wakefulness consistently every day. These mechanisms can be regulated in multiple ways: at the gene, protein, gene, and clock neuronal level. In this project, we will focus on 1) how to efficiently digest primary and review articles to compile and condense information, 2) investigate how circadian clocks are regulated at these different genetic levels, and 3) how to effectively summarize the information we've gathered.

Understanding single cell transcriptome databases

Single-cell RNA sequencing has become a powerful tool for researchers to understand the transcriptome (all of the mRNA transcripts present) in a single cell. Fruit flies are a widely used model organism to study multiple facets of biology. Recently, researchers have been able to compile single-cell data from all organ tissues present in a fruit fly (from the brain to reproductive organs) in a user-friendly interface online. In this project, we will select a widely studied gene (e.g., BRCA1 in cancer, APOE in Alzheimer's, CLOCK in circadian clocks) and search for cells that uniquely express mRNA transcripts for this gene. From using the dataset, we will determine if this gene is expressed in tissues that haven't been studied well (e.g., clock genes in reproductive organs or neuronal genes in the digestive system). From this information, we will try to determine how these genes might be important in these cell types.

Coding skills


Languages I know


Teaching experience

In undergrad, I was a peer tutor for students taking organic chemistry. During the semester, I would meet with students weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) to discuss topics that were still unclear, provide practice problems, and teach study strategies to prepare for exams. During grad school, I became involved with a summer high school mentoring program that was funded through the National Cancer Institute. During the course of 8 weeks, high school students were paired to both a PI and a graduate student. Each week, we would meet with students for an hour to discuss what it means to be in research, how to read journal articles and help them prepare a mini-review/research article and poster for the end of the program. I have been in this role for 2 summers now and will be in charge of pairing grad students with high schoolers next summer.


Work experience

Case Western Reserve University (2020 - Current)
Graduate Peer Mentor & Coordinator


College of Wooster
BA Bachelor of Arts (2019)
Neuroscience - Cellular Neurophysiology
Case Western Reserve University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Biology - Genetics

Completed Projects

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