Vicky Gomez.Hometown: Mendoza, Argentina
Undergraduate Institution: Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH

As a Xavier undergraduate, I had the opportunity of completing my Senior Research Thesis here at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in the laboratory of Dr. Tiffany Cook in the Division of Ophthalmology. This is where my interest in scientific research truly began to grow! After graduating from Xavier, I decided to take some time before pursuing a post-graduate degree to test the possibility of combining both basic and clinical research. I was fortunate to find an ideal position here at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in the Division of Asthma Research that allowed me exactly that opportunity: I was working in the lab doing basic scientific research and I was also involved in more of the translational aspect in which I was working one-on-one with patients to recruit them to participate in our studies. In this position I got to be part of both worlds: basic and clinical research. And this is where I found my passion. I wanted to be part of the Research world, whose efforts were directed to provide a better future for our children.

The time I spent and the experiences I gained at Cincinnati Children’s made it certain that this was the place where I wanted to pursue my PhD. The Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program has excellent and very successful faculty who are truly invested in our success and who believe creating a good PI-student relationship is a priority. And most importantly, the MDB program offers a very friendly atmosphere and group of students and staff that make you feel at home from the very first time you step on our campus!

Our program offers students a great variety of topics where we combine both our basic and translational research endeavors. During my first year in graduate school, I had the opportunity to rotate in many different labs that got me exposed to different research areas, animal models, techniques, lab dynamics and different styles of PIs. Because we have such a large number of faculties, it gives students the opportunity to expand and explore all the different aspects of choosing a project, a lab and a PI. Our choices are limitless!

I am currently in my 4th year in Katherine Yutzey’s lab, which is part of the Heart Institute here at Cincinnati Children’s. Our lab works on transcriptional regulators involved during heart development and disease. In particular, my thesis project concentrates on the role of the Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) in the development of Calcific Aortic Valve Disease, which we believe to mimic the process of normal bone calcification.


2014 - Richard A. Akeson Fellowship Fund Travel Award, MDB Graduate Program
London Heart Valve Biology and Tissue Engineering Meeting 2014, London, UK

2013 - American Heart Association Pre-doctoral Fellowship (Awarded to Gomez)
“BMP Signaling in the Progression of Calcific Aortic Valve Disease”

2013 - Cardiovascular Outreach Award, American Heart Association
Basic Cardiovascular Science Scientific Sessions, Las Vegas, NV

2013 - Heart Institute Co-Director’s Award for Best Platform Presentation: 2nd Place
Heart Institute Research Retreat, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, OH

2012 - Akeson Award for Outstanding Contributions to the MDB Graduate Program

2011 - Yates Scholar Award, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine 


Gomez, M.V., E.E. Wirrig, M. Fang, J.D. Cheek, C.M. Alfieri, R.B. Hinton and K.E. Yutzey (2014). Molecular mechanisms of heart valve development and disease. In Etiology and Morphogenesis of Congenital Heart Disease. (Takao Symposium Proceedings) Springer, Japan. T. Nakanishi, ed. In press.