Now, Maria focuses on chemotherapy resistance in breast cancer. In some women, treatment eventually stops working, causing their cancer to come back. She is trying to uncover the pathways that allow that to happen. By understanding what goes wrong, she can look for ways to fix the problem. “I love the lab,” she says. “I love research. I love to find new things.”
Maria is motivated by the idea of helping women—and by the team at Vera Bradley and the Vera Bradley Foundation. “I admire everybody at Vera Bradley,” she says. “I can see their commitment and how they get things done. I did research before but not in an environment like this. They are so committed to helping women with this terrible disease.”
Maria has come a long way from her childhood in Venezuela. As she reflects on her journey, she can’t help but think of her grandmother’s words of encouragement all those years ago. “I think she would be very proud and very happy,” she says.