Saul Ocampo Landa

Saul Ocampo Landa, Undergraduate student, Biomedical sciences

Sheds light on muscular dystrophy

“Saul brings enthusiasm, commitment and excellent technical skills to research in the lab. He is making critical contributions to our pre-clinical muscular dystrophy studies that show potential for restoring muscle function through gene transfer.” – Kevin Campbell, Professor, Physiology

Hometown: Muscatine, Iowa
Faculty mentor/advisor: Dr. Kevin Campbell
What is your degree program and expected graduate date? B.S, Biomedical Sciences with anticipated graduation in May 2022
Please describe your research: In Dr. Campbell’s lab, we investigate how muscular dystrophies (a group of diseases that cause muscle deterioration) develop.  The Campbell lab itself has discovered various genes and molecules that play a role in these diseases.  In addition, we also look at possible therapies that may translate to help patients who live with these debilitating muscle diseases.
In simple terms, why does this research matter? There are people of all backgrounds and ages who live with muscular dystrophies.  Also, the symptoms of muscular dystrophies can vary widely; dystrophies may affect muscles, heart, and the brain in varying severity.  As a lab, we work to link the mechanisms behind all muscular dystrophies and push towards therapies and treatments for patients.
How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I was incredibly fortunate to find a lab at the end of my first semester at Iowa (winter of my 1st year)
How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Being involved in research has had an invaluable benefit on my time at Iowa.  I’ve learned how to learn from and make mistakes, communicate science and ideas to both individuals and large groups, and how to manage myself in the context of larger goals and ideas.  Without my time in research, I would definitely not be as successful in college overall.
What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation, I plan to take a gap year and spend time continuing my research.  After this, I’ll apply to Iowa’s MSTP, a combined MD/PhD program that focuses on bridging the gap between the lab and the clinic for health sciences research.

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