Roberto Lopez Cervera, Class of 2025, MD/PhD
Undergraduate school attended and major
University of California, Santa Cruz; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Why did you choose the University of Minnesota Medical School and what do you like about it?
As someone who is passionate about research and mental health, I was drawn to the highly translational and cutting-edge neuroscience research at UMMS. Many institutions will claim they are translational, but within my first month at UMMS I found myself sitting in a room full of psychiatrists, psychologists, neuroscientists, and computer scientists at an internal conference. We discussed mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders and then had the privilege of listening to patients share their lived experiences. For anyone interested in translational neuroscience research, I highly recommend you get to know Dr. Sophia Vinogradov (Head, Department of Psychiatry) and Dr. Damien Fair (Director, Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain).
What would you change (areas of development) about the University of Minnesota Medical School?
Let's face it, a major cultural shift in higher education is sweeping the nation and our generation is tasked with leading the charge. Two of our greatest challenges are putting an end to systemic racism and student/physician burnout. At UMMS, change is facilitated by talented and caring faculty and staff. They have been intently listening and partnering with students to help make positive change not only within our program, but in our communities as well. The program is almost unrecognizable from when I started, so I am confident that we will continue to see constructive changes being made in the future.
What is the relationship between the students and the surrounding community?
One aspect of the program that I am most proud of is our dogged engagement with the community. During my first year, I was in awe at the spectrum of ongoing partnerships with different communities. Through our curriculum and the counsel of amazing mentors, we are taught to engage with the community in a responsible and sustainable way. I have had the privilege of working on domestic and international projects, one of which culminated in me traveling to Capitol Hill to share my experience on health-related immigration policy with Minnesotan representatives.
Languages you speak?
Spanish and English
Favorite activities to do in the Twin Cities?
My all-time favorite activity in the summer is river tubing!