Carolina Barillas-Mury

Carolina Barillas-Mury

Carolina Barillas-Mury

Power Words

Power Words: Spanish: 
Resistencia, Persistencia, Pasión, Colaboración
Power Words: English: 
Resiliency, Persistency, Passion, Collaboration

Where were you born? 

Guatemala City, Guatemala

What school did you attend? 

B.S.-Biology, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala; M.D.-Medicine, Universidad Francisco Marroquín de Guatemala, Guatemala; Ph.D.-Biochemistry, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona; Post-Doc-Harvard University, Boston, and European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany

What gained you interest in the NIH? 

During my post-doctoral training I realized that my main area of interest was the use of molecular tools to understand the interactions between the mosquito immune system and Plasmodium.

What kind of work do you do at the NIH? 

I am a Distinguished Investigator working on mosquito immunity and transmission of mosquito-borne diseases. Most of my work is with malaria, but we are also starting some work on Dengue virus transmission. We want to understand the strategies that microbes use to infect, survive and multiply in mosquitoes and infect humans when an infected mosquito bites a second person. Our ultimate goal to disrupt disease transmission and prevent human disease.

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

Education is the mechanism by which we inherit what others before us have learned in a particular field. A strong education allows you to have a job in which you can be creative and contribute new ideas. This makes your work much more interesting. A good education teaches you how to explore and learn on your own. Having a deeper understanding of how a system works makes it more likely that you will take a leadership position. A strong education is the foundation for a successful career and greatly increases your chances of having an interesting job that pays well. Do not be afraid of failure or of trying new approaches. Be resilient and persistent. You often have to explore different strategies or areas before you find what is right for you. Find a job you are passionate about. Never stop learning and growing, let your creativity and curiosity develop as you do your work. Instead of spending a lot of energy competing with others, focus on being competent and learning to be an outstanding team player and collaborator.