Diana Azurdia, Ph.D.
Dr. Diana Azurdia serves as the Director for Recruitment and Inclusion for Graduate Programs in Bioscience. In this role, Dr. Azurdia leads the development and implementation of a strategic plan to enhance diversity in the biomedical graduate student population. Additionally, Dr. Azurdia uses her platform as a National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) Master Facilitator to promote inclusive mentoring practices at UCLA where she is the Director of the UCLA Entering Mentoring Training Program. The training is offered yearly during the Spring quarter as a ten-week course (MOLBIO 300) and is open to graduate students, postdocs, and faculty in all science disciplines. In addition, Dr. Azurdia delivers a faculty day- long mentor training annually in the Fall. She believes conversations with mentees are just as important thus she delivers a number of workshops annually on how to “Choose the Right Mentor” and “Foster the Mentoring Relationship” to both undergraduate and graduate student audiences. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and is the Co-Advisor to the UCLA SACNAS Chapter.
She has directed several programs that broaden participation in science, served as adjunct faculty in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at CSU Los Angeles and performed postdoctoral research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, investigating the role of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling on histone modification and its role in metastasis and proliferation of triple-negative breast cancer cells. She earned her PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from UCLA, where she was a NIGMS Predoctoral Fellow (F31), and graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from CSU Los Angeles, where she was a NIH MARC trainee. Dr. Azurdia is a first-generation Guatemalan-American and the first in her family to attend college. She grew up in a low-income household with very limited resources and her first exposure to the idea that science could be pursued as a career came through the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program. As the beneficiary of broadening participation programs, she believes that initiatives that promote access to STEM degrees are important for equal representation of all identities in science, the creation of innovations that serve all communities and income equity. Consequently, Dr. Azurdia has devoted her career to promoting initiatives that serve those causes. Additionally, she attributes her ability to navigate her academic career to key mentors and therefore a major focus of her work centers on the propagation of effective mentoring of underrepresented individuals in STEM.