2023 2024 NHLCC Scholar Azuah Lucrecia Gonzalez

Azuah Lucrecia Gonzalez, PhD CandidateAzuah Lucrecia Gonzalez
PhD Candidate, Department of Molecular Pathology and Immunology
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Azuah Lucrecia Gonzalez is a first-generation college student and is currently a graduate student at Vanderbilt University. As the youngest in a bustling family of ten siblings, Azuah grew up in Boyle Heights, a multicultural and predominantly Spanish-speaking community in Los Angeles, California.

During her undergraduate career at UC Santa Cruz (UCSC), she found that science provided a place of connection between her Central American roots and the Anglo point of view. For three years, Azuah worked in the lab of Dr. Victoria Auerbuch-Stone studying the enteropathogen Yersinia pseudotuberculosis to interrogate the role that oxygen plays during dissemination in the intestine. During this time, Azuah served as an undergraduate peer mentor, where she was trained to build critical thinking skills, promote an active learning environment, and ensure that all students felt welcomed, valued, and included.

In 2020, Azuah moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue her PhD in immunology at Vanderbilt University. Under the mentorship of Dr. Amanda Doran, Azuah is working on a variety of projects investigating the role of innate immune cells in cardiovascular disease, which has already resulted in a first author review article and a manuscript under review.

Since starting graduate school, Azuah has continued to organize outreach events and is an active team leader in the Vanderbilt Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee to find opportunities to improve STEM representation. She never shies away from an opportunity to step up to a leadership role and uses her positions to shine a light on the inequalities individuals face in the scientific field.

Azuah’s long-term goal is to hold a position as a university professor to continue to conduct cutting-edge research in the fields of immunology and inflammation to develop treatments for cardiovascular disease for underserved communities.