CSUF News Service

Meet María Soledad Ramírez

Microbiologist Seeks Strategies Against Drug-Resistant Superbugs

Resistance to antibiotics is a growing public health concern — and that's why Cal State Fullerton microbiologist María Soledad Ramírez is working toward finding ways to help stop bacteria, or superbugs, that make people sick and even die.

With more than 10 years of experience in molecular microbiology and clinical research, the Argentinian native has come to CSUF to continue her investigations on why certain pathogens, or bacteria that cause disease, are resistant to antibiotics. Her research efforts have led to more than 55 published papers and presentations at 94 national and international meetings.

"It's a real public health issue," said the assistant professor of biological science who came to campus in the fall and already has five undergraduates working in her lab. "If I want to dream, I hope that through our collaborative research efforts, we find novel targets to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance to help save lives."

Ramírez is no stranger to campus. She's been collaborating since the mid-1980s with Marcelo Tolmasky, professor of biological science, a CSUF Outstanding Professor Award recipient and researcher in antibiotic resistance.

She was awarded a 2007 fellowship to conduct research with Tolmasky, and the following year, she returned as a visiting professor in the Biological Science Department. In 2011, Ramírez received a Fulbright CONICET Research Fellowship, which led to her working in Tolmasky's lab for three months. To date, they have published 15 collaborative papers.

Ramírez also was a mentor in Tolmasky's summer National Institutes of Health-funded Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training Program. This summer, she plans to work with several CSUF students selected for the program at the University of Buenos Aires, where she earned her undergraduate degree and doctorate in microbiology.

Before leaving Buenos Aires to come to Fullerton, Ramírez was an assistant researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), which promotes science and technology in Argentina.

Ramírez, is the recipient of numerous honors, including the 2012 ICAAC Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Microbiology, the InterAmerican Network of Academies of Sciences Fellowship Award and the Young Scientist Travel Grant in Rome.

In addition to mentoring students, she is teaching courses in general and advanced microbiology. "I love teaching. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and helping students acquire the research tools they need to earn advanced degrees or to work in industry," she said.

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