CAMMI VALDEZ, PhD ’14, medical sciences, is a vascular biologist, faculty member, and champion of making STEM accessible. As a Latina woman scientist, she is a strong advocate for empowering and advancing women, first-generation students, and people of color in STEM. Valdez is currently an assistant professor of chemistry at Northeastern State University and past president of the national McNair Association of Professionals (MAP). The Valdez Laboratory focuses on studying the role of pericytes in Diabetic Retinopathy and developing tools to better characterize these findings. Along with her collaborators at Harvard Medical School/Schepens Eye Research Institute/Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary, she is studying the endothelial cell-pericyte interactions in models of CADASIL, the most common monogenic cause of cerebral small vessel disease. Previously, Valdez served as the director of the McNair Scholars Program at Wellesley College and as assistant director of research and fellowships at Harvard College.
Valdez received a BS Professional in chemistry and a BS in mathematics from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, where she was an ACS Scholar and OK-LSAMP Scholar, and earned her PhD in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard University. During graduate school, her scholarship was recognized with the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, NASPA Massachusetts Richard F. Stevens Outstanding Graduate Student Award, 60th Nobel Laureate Meeting Harvard Ambassador, and serving as a Harvard Griffin GSAS Commencement Marshal. Her research in vascular biology has been published in numerous journals including The American Journal of Pathology as well as Current Diabetes Report.