Leonardo Molina at the 2023 TiME Day Symposium.


Leonardo (Leo) Molina, a Tissue Microenvironment (TiME) Training Program member and graduate student in animal sciences, was recently awarded an NIH National Research Service Award (NRSA) for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (F31). The prestiguous award will fund Leo’s research for up to three years.

Before graduate studies, Leo completed a dual bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in animal sciences and chemistry. Initially, he set his sights on veterinary medicine, but a summer in an animal clinic in Chicago altered his direction. “I saw the extensive resources that went into surgical sterilization of animals, and I wanted to do something to address that. I became curious about alternative methods,” he said.

Today, Leo is in his fourth year as a doctoral student in David Miller’s lab in the Animal Sciences Department, focusing on reproductive biology and the tissue microenvironment of the oviduct (the Fallopian or uterine tube) – research which may have important implications for ovarian cancer research.

Not having an engineering background, Leo came to the TiME Training Program without expectations. “But I benefited immensely from the education and exposure to tissue bioengineering research and the Beckman research community.” Looking ahead, Leo is excited about a future of scientific research in reproductive biology, where he hopes to focus on developing novel contraceptive technologies.

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Written by Jonathan King, CCIL Communications Team