Alejandro A. Schäffer

Alejandro A. Schäffer

Alejandro A. Schäffer

Power Words

Power Words: Spanish: 
Pregunta, Honra el sacrificio, Oportunidad
Power Words: English: 
Ask, Honor Sacrifice, Opportunity

Where were you born? 

Montevideo, Uruguay

What school did you attend? 

Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

What gained you interest in the NIH? 

The laboratory of Dr. Francis Collins, then Director of the National Center of Human Genome Research used my FASTLINK software in a genetics project, which got me invited to give a seminar at NIH in 1994. At the time, I was also working on improving the MSA software of Dr. Stephen Altschul and Dr. David Lipman (NCBI/NLM). My visit went well and I applied for a job, which I got in 1995.

What kind of work do you do at the NIH? 

I’m a Staff Scientist in Bioinformatics, with a focus on cancer genomics, biological sequence analysis, and medical genetics.

What message would you like to send to young Hispanics who are considering going to college? 

For many Hispanics/Latinos currently in the United States, it is the case that our parents or grandparents made substantial sacrifices to leave Latin America and come to the United States so that their descendants could have better educational and career opportunities. We honor their sacrifices by striving to take those opportunities when they are presented. Whether you are an immigrant yourself, or the descendant of an immigrant, it is good to always have the mindset of an immigrant – work harder than everyone else and take nothing for granted. The only bad questions are the questions that do not get asked.