Mariana Louza Stevens.Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Undergraduate Institution: Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

During my undergraduate studies in Rio de Janeiro, I had close contact with scientific research. Of which, the last three years was focused primarily on Developmental Biology. All of this time spent in the lab was crucial in my decision to continue with my academic career which involved taking another year and a half of studies to finish my Master’s degree. However, the high level of education provided in the U.S. led me to find out more about the graduate programs offered in my research area of interest (Developmental Biology). Searching online, I found Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Molecular and Developmental Biology Program (MDB). After exploring the very informative website, I found myself facing a wonderful place to pursue my PhD. My research is focused on understanding key signals that instruct cells to derive the different regions of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Major findings from our lab have been used in protocols to inform differentiation of stem cells in organs like stomach, pancreas and intestine. During these past four years I was guided by a dedicated committee, which cares about my training and success. As a result I have already been awarded with grants, poster and platform presentations.

After leaving Rio de Janeiro, I was concerned about moving to a smaller city such as Cincinnati. However, I figured out that Cincinnati could provide an affordable, good quality of life. You can easily find good restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums and amusement parks. I’m very happy with my decision to join MDB program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. I have felt welcomed since the first contact with the Admissions Committee. I highly encourage foreign students to apply and embrace this amazing opportunity to study abroad and learn something new every single day.


Reis, AH*, Almeida-Coburn, KL*, Louza, MP*, Cerqueira, DM, Aguiar, DP, Silva-Cardoso, L, Mendes, FA, Andrade, LR, Einicker-Lamas, M, Atella, GC, Brito, JM, Abreu, JG (2012) Plasma membrane cholesterol depletion disrupts prechordal plate and affects early forebrain patterning. Dev. Biol. 365(2):350-62.
*Equal contribution

Kenny, AP, Rankin, SA, Allbee, AW, Prewitt, AR, Zhang, Z, Tabangin, ME, Shifley, ET, Louza, MP, Zorn, AM (2012) Sizzled-tolloid interactions maintain foregut progenitors by regulating fibronectin-dependent BMP signaling. Dev. Cell. 23(2):292-304.

Tadjuidje E, Cha SW, Louza M, Wylie C, Heasman J. The functions of maternal Dishevelled 2 and 3 in the early Xenopus embryo. Dev Dyn. 2011;240(7):1727-36.