Hosbaldo Morales Murrillo is a biology student who has had several research positions both at CU Denver and Anschutz. EURēCA! Student Ambassador Jacob Torrens talks with him about finding a research position, learning from research mentors, and how to navigate the challenges of applying for research opportunities.

Jacob Torrens:

Okay, to start us off, can you tell us how you got to CU Denver?

 

Hosbaldo Morales Murillo:

Well, I'm originally from Aurora. And I was in a program where I could take college classes in high school. After you did a certain number of classes, they would help you out in applying to college. So, I did that, and I was able to get into CU Denver.

 

Jacob Torrens:

What is your major right now and what got you into it?

 

Hosbaldo Morales Murillo:

My major is biology. With biology, I've always liked learning how much there is to it, because there's a ton to learn about biology. So, I knew it wouldn't be something where I stopped learning at a certain point, I would always keep learning. So that is what has kept me interested in it.

CU Denver student presenting poster

Jacob Torrens:

Okay, and can you tell me now a little bit about how you got into research?

 

Hosbaldo Morales Murillo:

It’s a goal of mine to become a researcher, so I knew I had to start right away. At CU Denver, there was a fair where you could learn about biology labs. So I went around with everyone and asked, was there an opportunity to join the lab? And one of the labs said they had a space open. And I did that for about a year. I also presented at RaCAS last year for it. And that was a really cool experience.

And then this past year I applied to a semester internship program called EMRAPs. It was where we got to go into the UC Health Emergency Department and help collect samples from people and get consent from patients. That was really helpful because that gave me a view of how the emergency department worked, and how to have patient interaction.

 

And then from there, I was able to get a work-study position through the EURēCA! program. I've done a bunch of things with the program. I was initially following attending residents, or any physicians, and looking at how they interacted with patients. I followed them around throughout the whole day and documented how to talk to patients. That was really cool, I got to see everything they did. And there were some crazy cases that were pretty interesting.

 

And then once COVID hit, I couldn't go back to the ER, so now they have me looking at cardiac arrests and kind of documenting the whole process of what happens when a patient has a cardiac arrest.

Jacob Torrens:

What do you hope to accomplish with this research?

 

Hosbaldo Morales Murillo:

Yeah, so like I said, one of my main goals is to be a researcher. I feel like all this is getting me the basics of what to look for, how to gather data, how to analyze the data, how to interpret it, and how to present it. So, it has been really great working with my mentor, Shelby.

 

Jacob Torrens:

And just to ask about your mentor, how did you meet? And what has been an overview of your relationship?

 

Hosbaldo Morales Murillo:

Yeah, when I did EMRAPs, Shelby was in charge of that. And then afterward, I explained to her that I wanted to get into research, and I wanted more experience in it. That's when she let me know about the work-study offering with EURēCA!. Since then, I've been working with her, and she's helped me a lot throughout the way.

Jacob Torrens:

Awesome, and what do you plan to do after graduating?

 

Hosbaldo Morales Murillo:

There was a program of mentors for neuroscience called the Summer Research Training Program (SRTP) that I applied to, so now I have a neuroscience mentor who has been helping me out with trying to see what to do post-graduation. She has helped me pick out that I should do an MD-PhD program that incorporates both the research side of things and then actual implementation into a patient interaction.

 

I have heard it takes longer than a grad degree or a med degree. It's usually about eight to nine years. But I feel like that would suit my needs, I know a lot of people just want to get their degree and be over with it, but I feel like you never stop learning. So, I might as well just keep learning going to school.

 

Jacob Torrens:

Okay, awesome. In closing, what were some of the big challenges you've had to overcome throughout this journey?

 

Hosbaldo Morales Murillo:

One of the biggest challenges, I would say, would be COVID. Because that put a damper on what I could do in the Emergency Department. It was really cool working there, so I wish I was able to experience it a little bit more. That and there were a bunch of other programs that had to get shut down, or just stop completely.

It doesn't matter how many times you get rejected, there's always a bunch more programs that are happy to accept anyone. So always try to keep applying to any program you can.

Jacob Torrens:

In the challenges that you faced due to COVID-19, what advice would you give to new freshmen who are going into the research field?

 

Hosbaldo Morales Murillo:

I would say just try to get into as many things as you possibly can. I know we have limited time, with school, with work as well, but you can always fit in a lab or program. It doesn't matter how many times you get rejected, there's always a bunch more programs that are happy to accept anyone. So always try to keep applying to any program you can.

 

Jacob Torrens:

Okay, great, thanks.

 

Take your research to the next level by presenting at the Annual Research and Creative Activities Symposium (RaCAS) on April 29, 2022. Abstract applications to present at due March 18, 2022. Want to learn more about research symposiums? View past presentations here.