Dr. Erika Calvo-OchoaDr. Erika Calvo-Ochoa

Dr. Erika Calvo-Ochoa of the Hope College biology and neuroscience faculty has received a Rising Stars Award from the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO).

The awards support the research needs of early career neuroscience faculty from diverse and/or underrepresented backgrounds. Calvo-Ochoa, who is an assistant professor of biology and neuroscience, will use the award in support of her research on neural regeneration in the olfactory system — which is responsible for the sense of smell — of adult zebrafish. With this research, she aims to understand the processes that enable olfactory recovery following brain trauma. “Knowledge in this field could lead to potential strategies for restoring chemosensory function in a growing number of individuals suffering from olfactory loss,” she explained.

Calvo-Ochoa, who is originally from Mexico, joined the Hope faculty in 2020 after holding a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (NSF PRFB) at Western Michigan University. She completed her B.Sc. in biomedical research and her Ph.D. in neuroscience at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in 2008 and 2015, respectively. She has had several research articles published in refereed professional journals, including the Journal of Neuroscience, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, and Cell Tissue and Research.

She has broad training in molecular, cellular and behavioral neuroscience in diverse animal models. Her expertise focuses on studying mechanisms of loss and recovery of brain plasticity and function following damage and disease, research for which zebrafish provide a valuable model.

Calvo-Ochoa teaches courses in neuroscience, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, and advanced neuroscience research. In her two years at Hope, she has mentored 12 undergraduate researchers, who have been very successful at earning external research fellowships and travel awards.

IBRO is the global association of neuroscience societies established in 1961 that aims to promote and support neuroscience around the world through training, education, research, outreach and engagement activities, and publication of the journals Neuroscience and IBRO Neuroscience Reports. Calvo-Ochoa had previously been honored by IBRO through the IBRO-RIKEN CBS (RIKEN Center for Brain Science) Summer Internship Program for an internship in Japan in 2019.