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Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences class speaker will remind classmates to ‘live in the present’

By Colleen Locke

UMass Chan Medical School Communications

May 25, 2022

Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Class of 2022 speaker Daniel Hidalgo will reflect on the value of positive thinking when he addresses his classmates at the UMass Chan Medical School 49th Commencement on Sunday, June 5.

“I’ve always been a positive person, so I just want to make that resonate in my speech,” Hidalgo said. “Always keep a positive mentality, and don’t dwell on the past. Learn from it, but live in the present and enjoy the future, because I’m sure the future for all of us is bright with the type of training we got here.”

Hidalgo was born in Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz, Mexico, and grew up in Guatemala City. He came to Worcester in 2004 to attend Clark University. After earning a bachelor’s in biochemistry and molecular biology and a master’s in biology, he began working as a research associate in the lab of Merav Socolovsky, MD, PhD, professor of molecular, cell & cancer biology. In 2016, Hidalgo enrolled in the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and chose to pursue his PhD in the Cancer Biology Program, with Dr. Socolovsky as his mentor.

“We always hear stories of friends, family members and dear ones who pass away. And then doctors always saying, ‘We did the best we could.’ The best we could is never enough, right? So that’s what excites me. That’s what has me doing research and really asking, ‘What’s the next question?’” Hidalgo said.

He is a founding member and former president of the UMass Chan chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Last year, he received the Student Community Service Leadership Award and the Outstanding Student Mentor in the Classroom or Research Setting Award from the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

In April, Hidalgo began working as a scientist at Ikena Oncology in Boston on its translational research team, where he is developing flow cytometric-based assays.

The Socolovsky lab was a heavy user of the laser-based technique, which is commonly used to evaluate bone marrow, blood and other fluids in the body.

“Flow cytometry is a quantitative single cell analysis, or assay, that can give you a lot of information, such as the cell’s size and expression of a protein of interest. I think everybody’s a little bit afraid of flow cytometry and that was my forte at UMass Chan,” Hidalgo said.

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SACNAS-UMMS student chapter receives national recognition