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El Mundo Boston 2018.

EDMARIE GUZMÁN-VELÉZ

Instructor/Clinical Scientist, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital

Age: 30

Heritage: Puerto Rican

Edmarie is a neuropsychologist whose research aims to find markers that can identify Alzheimer’s disease (AD) very early, as well as lifestyle factors that protect us from developing dementia. She completed her bachelor’s at the University of Puerto Rico, Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Iowa, and postdoctoral fellowship at MGH and Harvard, where she is now faculty.

Edmarie once wanted to be a famous dancer and singer. In college, she found that she could use the discipline she learned from dance and the creativity, energy, desire that came with it to inspire others and advance in science. She was particularly interested in learning more about how our experiences shape the brain and how brain diseases impact our behavior. She started studying emotions and memory in people with Alzheimer’s Disease, and helped develop an intervention for caregivers. Her patients and participants motivated her to investigate lifestyle factors, such as exercise, that could protect us from developing this devastating disease. 

Edmarie has received awards from the American Psychological Association, International Neuropsychological Society, National Science Foundation, MGH Office for Research Career Development, Alzheimer’s Association, and the NIH National Institute on Aging, for her research, which has also been featured in multiple media outlets and scientific journals.

In addition, Edmarie is deeply committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in science, and to mentoring the next generation of scientists. She has mentored Latino students for almost 9 years and is now co-director and co-creator of the Sagrado-MIT Neuroscience Pre-college Program. This program aims to provide Puerto Rican high school students with mentoring and the tools to successfully pursue a career in science regardless of their socioeconomic status, gender, etc. She is also part of the Women in Science committee at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center to support the advancement of women in STEM. She also contributes to studies examining aging in Latino older adults. She aims to direct her own research laboratory, help grow the representation of Latinos in research, and help find a cure or prevention for the millions of people living with dementia.

Edmarie is inspired every day by her wonderful mentors, passionate students, brilliant partner, supportive family and friends, the millions of people living with dementia, and by all the resilient Latinos who thrive in adversity. She hopes to inspire and provide opportunities to people from diverse backgrounds with limited access to resources and education so that they can go on to have successful careers.