Vásquez honored for contributions
In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field, Valeria Vásquez, PhD, associate professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, received the inaugural Dr. Pete Cala Research Excellence in Physiology Award during the recent Hispanic Heritage Symposium at UC Davis.
Vásquez earned her licenciatura from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and completed her doctorate in Dr. Eduardo Perozo’s lab at the University of Virginia. She continued her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Miriam Goodman at Stanford University.
Vásquez has made significant strides in exploring the impact of mechanosensitive ion channels, particularly the PIEZO channels. Using an array of state-of-the-art methodologies, from electrophysiology to calcium imaging and spectroscopy, her research delves into critical areas such as red blood cell volume regulation, touch sensation, and musculoskeletal development.
In addition to her research pursuits, she is an active advocate for women, Latinos, Hispanics, and underrepresented groups in science both as a faculty member and as the president of the Society for Latin-American Biophysicists.
“In honoring Dr. Valeria Vásquez with this award, we also pay tribute to the remarkable legacy of Dr. Pete Cala, the former chair of the Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology at UC Davis. Dr. Cala’s leadership and mentorship have left an indelible mark on the field, and today, we celebrate both Valeria’s exceptional achievements and Dr. Pete Cala’s enduring influence on the discipline of physiology,” said Dr. Luis Fernando Santana, chair of the Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology at UC Davis.