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Begoņa Campos-Naciff, PhD, came to the University of Cincinnati in 1991 to work with John Dedman, PhD, professor emeritus in the department of cancer biology. She previously served as a postdoctoral student under Dedman at the University of Texas in Houston. At UC, Campos-Naciff has been a visiting scientist and research assistant professor. After a diagnosis of breast cancer, Campos-Naciff under the advice of a doctor sought a new role at UC. She is currently a research associate and laboratory manager for the Dialysis Vascular Access Research Group within the division of nephrology at UC.
The Dialysis Vascular Access Research Group is a translational research program tasked with exploring the pathobiology of dialysis vascular access dysfunction, using state-of-the-art technology and developing and evaluating novel therapies that target the problem of hemodialysis vascular access dysfunction. The group advances novel therapies in hemodialysis vascular access dysfunction by playing a principal role in designing and conducting clinical trials.
What turned you on to science?
"When I was a little girl my parents had many health issues. I used to play with empty bottles of their medicines and pretend I was a scientist preparing a magic potion that would cure different diseases. In college, I was very fortunate to work in a laboratory with a great professor who opened my eyes to the magic of science and how amazing the human body really is. I continued my studies and was blessed to work with other excellent teachers and researchers.
What inspires you day to day?
"I love to teach. I love to interact with everyone who visits the lab. We have high school students who come to the lab, and I am proud to say that some of the kids that worked this summer will probably start college with publications. We have graduate students who come and they want to come back. We have fellows, and we have residents and even some doctors who came to the lab. We have a professor who came from Spain, another from India and now one from Mexico wants to come here. The lab is a place of enjoyment, and I feel those who visit love it. They feel they are part of something special. We are a very diverse group, and everybody feels welcome here. I really think this is very important to create knowledge for future generations. If we dont have the time to teach kids to love science, I dont know who is going to follow in our footsteps.
And on those difficult days, what do you do?
"I am living proof of the power of research. Researchers have found new ways to address many disorders or diseases, including breast cancer. In the same way that research has helped me, I want to make a difference in the life of someone else. To remind me of this mission, I have a picture in my office of a friend who has a lot of problems with dialysis. Every time I feel tired or feel I cant do it any more I just look at his picture, and I know how important it is for me to do what I do because somebody did similar research for me. He is on dialysis and thankfully, I am here so I was able to help him to decide to have a transplant. He will have a transplant very shortly. When I am overwhelmed and I have a lot of work and I am working with grants I just look at his picture and think, Thats it. I really love what I do. I love the science, working in the lab and writing grants. I love to have discussions about science.
What do you do in your spare time?
"I am a breast cancer survivor and when I was sick I was going through chemotherapy and I really thought about a lot of people who dont have a job and dont have insurance, what do they do to pay for medical care? I know there are associations that help and do a very good job, but there are people who need help. I started participating in fundraisers to collect funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation to pay for mammograms. Ive been part of this for the past three years. I am also very involved in my church. I enjoy spending time with my two kids and my husband. My daughter, Amanda, is a sophomore at UC studying psychology and my son, Jorge, is a high school senior and wants to study chemical engineering. My husband, also Jorge, is a toxicologist.
Other cool things about Begoņa Campos-Naciff
In November, Campos-Naciff was the keynote speaker for 135th anniversary of her alma mater, the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, College of Chemical Science in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The event received broadcast media attention in Mexico along with stories in Exprés, Visón Informativa, El Portal and Revista Punto De Vista.