Ms. Banuelos earned her B.S. in Biology at California State Long Beach (CSULB) where she conducted research in conservation biology by looking at a specific lizard species (western fence lizard) and its genotype in relation to specific locations in the Southern California region.
Gabriela worked full time as an Analyst for Test America, an environmental company analyzing for BTEX compound in different samples. While working full time, she attended graduate school at CSULB where she obtained her M.S. in molecular cell biology. Her graduate research was focused on protein trafficking in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast). Gabriela conducted a screen of over five thousand mutants and uncovered eleven mutants that displayed a defect in protein trafficking from the endosome to the lysosome pathway.
While continuing her thesis research, she joined the BMT lab at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and worked as a clinical lab associate. Gabriela worked with cancer patients stem cells, where these cells where collected for the patient’s future use. She also worked with donated umbilical cord blood where stem cells where isolated and were used for therapeutic infusions for patients with blood diseases.
Gabriela is currently conducting research in CHOC’s Neuroscience Laboratories as a Research Associate II. Some of her projects include directing induced pluripotent stem cell lines (IPSCs) towards a neural pathway in order to produce neuron stem cells (NSCs). She has successfully differentiated some of these cell lines to produce functional action-potential-firing neurons.
She has many hobbies and interests such as cooking, traveling, hiking, scuba diving, being a gym junky and, recently, being a yoga fanatic!