Yadira Xitlalli Pérez-Páramo with WSU President Kirk Schulz at the award ceremony March 4

SPOKANE, Wash. — Yadira Xitlalli Pérez-Páramo, a graduate student in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program at Washington State University (WSU) in Spokane, was selected for the 2019 Graduate Student Woman of Distinction award. She received the award at a ceremony in Pullman on March 4, 2019, along with five other women recognized by the university.

The WSU Women of Distinction and Woman of the Year Awards are presented annually during National Women’s History Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of women to the academic and local community, and to our society.

Pérez-Páramo is a Fulbright Scholar who came to WSU from the Universidad Autonóma de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico, where she completed her master’s degree in molecular biology and genetic engineering. This is not the first time Pérez-Páramo has been recognized for her work, within the past year she has received recognition from several international research organizations for excellence in collaborative research and scholarship.

She works in the research lab of Philip Lazarus, and together they are studying how genetics effect the body’s reactions to and removal of nicotine, the addictive agent in tobacco products, and tobacco carcinogens, and if these genetic factors can be used as markers of tobacco addiction or cancer risk. If her research is successful, Pérez-Páramo could be able to determine how likely a smoker will develop nicotine addiction or cancer based on his or her own DNA.

In addition to her studies in pharmaceutical sciences, Pérez-Páramo is active in her local community and the scientific community. She serves as the programs director for the WSU chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), which was recognized for its activity in STEM advocacy this past year. She also serves as a mentor for the NY Academy of Sciences program, “1000 Girls, 1000 Dreams,” that helps to empower high school girls that are interested in STEM from undeserved areas in Mexico.