Thiago Arzua is a Ph.D. Candidate in Neuroscience at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

A photo of Thiago Arzua wearing a suit.

My doctoral research has been on early neurodevelopment. I like to reduce it to studying what can go wrong when creating a brain. More specifically, I focus on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, or what happens to a fetus brain when pregnant moms drink. To do that, we focus on a few different molecular pathways, and use both animal models and stem cell-derived brain organoids.

How did you become interested in science policy? How did you find NSPN?

My first contact with science policy was actually with a former NSPN member, Shannon Walsh, who came to our school to talk about it back in 2019. It was something I had no idea existed, and that same year I went to the NSPN Symposium and pretty much fell in love. I think being involved in science policy ties in my interests in translational neuroscience to a certain social awareness of the impacts that our research can have.

Any recent accomplishments or projects you’d like to share related to science policy, advocacy, or communication?

I am super excited and proud of a recent policy paper a few colleagues at Emory and I published in the Journal of Science Policy & Governance. It’s titled: “Investing in International Graduate Students for the Scientific Endeavour Keeps the United States Competitive,” and in it we talk a bit about the current situation of international students in the US and clear policy proposals of how that can be improved. I think it’s something easily overlooked, even though international students make up almost 40% of all the doctoral recipients here.

What do you enjoy doing outside of science policy?

I am not sure how, but I also have a lot of random hobbies: triathlon (swimming, cycling, and running) takes up most of my free time, especially since I was training for Ironman Wisconsin. I also got into painting during the last year, and I love cooking all kinds of different foods!

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To learn more about Thiago, follow him on Twitter: @ThiagoArzua.

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