Maria Cabrera Abad got her B.A in molecular biology from University of California, Berkeley where she studied natural product biosynthesis and began her interest in heterologous expression and the field of synthetic biology. She then moved on to CalTech where she assisted in creating a "synthetic digital recording system." This project allowed researchers to track the lineage of an engineered mouse stem cell line using fluorescence microscopy. Maria enjoyed taking hundreds of images on the confocal microscope that were able to tell a story about this particular biological system. At the end of the project, she created an animation visually explaining the system which other students and researchers could use during presentations. This project helped Maria realize she enjoyed data visualization and coming up with creative ways to explain science.
After working in a plant biotech startup, Maria is currently pursuing her interests in combining science and art by learning animation, graphics, and data visualization.