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Snapshot: Tatiana Domitrovic



Snapshot: Tatiana Domitrovic

Position at Scripps Research: Research Associate in the Department of Molecular Biology laboratory of Professor Jack Johnson

Projects: In the Johnson lab, which investigates the structure and function of viruses from a variety of perspectives, Domitrovic’s research centers on understanding how small viruses pack their genetic material and deliver that material into cells. “You can think about these viruses, made by multiple copies of just one type of protein, as nano-containers,” she says. “They can be used as molecule carriers to efficiently deliver drugs to diseased tissues while avoiding healthy cells.”

Background: The Brazilian native earned a PhD in biochemistry at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. She met Johnson when he visited collaborators at the university: “I was instantaneously caught by his creative research that brings together structural biology, molecular biology, and biochemistry.”

Awards: In 2011, Domitrovic was named a Pew Latin American Fellow in Biological Sciences. The prestigious honor aims to develop and advance the scientific work of young, highly-trained researchers and to foster collaboration between scientists in Latin America and the United States.

Arrived at Scripps Research: January 2011

Impressions of Scripps Research: Domitrovic enjoys the collaborative Scripps Research environment with its “amazingly diversified research” and appreciates the opportunities on campus for interaction with people of different backgrounds and nationalities. She is also learning by observing the institute’s organization. “One of my objectives when I decided to undertake a postdoc abroad was to see different ways of doing science,” she says. 

Professional and volunteer activities: Domitrovic relishes communicating science to the general public, particularly engaging underserved children in her homeland. She participated in interactive public science exhibitions sponsored by the Biochemistry Institute at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. When she returns to Brazil next year, Domitrovic plans to resume volunteer work with an organization that sponsors special summer science courses for poor high school students, supervising young talented trainees coming from the country’s public educational system.

Extracurricular activities: Avid about the out-of-doors, Domitrovic’s favorite pastime is horseback riding, a sport she often pursues at local ranches on weekends. 

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Tatiyana Domitrovic, a research associate in the Johnson lab, is a Pew Latin American Fellow in the Biological Sciences. (Photo by Cindy Brauer.)