“I want to save a million lives.” UAB spring 2023 graduate set to start Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training with the National Institutes of Health.

Jeydi Gonzalez-Guzman, a spring 2023 graduate of the UAB Department of Chemistry, was recently awarded a post-baccalaureate position with the NIH.

University of Alabama at BirminghamStream Jeydi GonzalezPhotograph courtesy of Jeydi Gonzalez-Guzman spring 2023 graduate Jeydi Gonzalez-Guzman was recently awarded a National Institutes of Health Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award.

In July, the 22-year-old Marshall County, Alabama, native traveled to the NIH headquarters to research and learn new techniques in radiochemistry.

With a one-year commitment, Gonzalez-Guzman says he is excited and grateful to receive this opportunity.

“I’m honestly humbled,” Gonzalez-Guzman said. “I spent a lot of time researching and preparing, eager to make sure that I presented and represented myself as a great candidate and as someone who is worthy of this award and opportunity.”

Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with minors in business administration and biochemistry, Gonzalez-Guzman originally transferred to UAB in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic.

“My UAB experience has been unique,” Gonzalez-Guzman said. “I came as a transfer student, and I did my best to try to excel everywhere I could.”

Finding a new home in the chemistry lab environment, Gonzalez-Guzman accredits a lot of his academic development and success to his mentors and professors, Melissa Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Biology, and Gayan Wijeratne, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Chemistry.

“I had amazing mentors helping me out along the way,” he said. “Dr.  Harris pushed me in the direction of this opportunity and offered guidance while navigating this time, while Dr. Wijeratne presented me with the necessary knowledge and training to be able to work in radiochemistry.”

Gonzalez-Guzman says he wants to use his experience in this role to better prepare himself to one day change the world.

“I want to save a million lives,” he said. “I know that’s a lofty goal, but my primary desire is to do research that will one day impact the world for the better.”

Gonzalez-Guzman seeks to attend medical school following his stint with the NIH.

“I think this opportunity will give me a chance to not only grow more as a person, but allow me to show and develop my potential as an aspiring doctor and physician-scientist,” Gonzalez-Guzman said. “I want to develop my skills to be better prepared to not only be there for patients, but tackle life-changing research.”