Ana G. Vergara joined ASPET in 2017 during her doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Washington State University (WSU). Her dissertation focused on studying the metabolism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a potent class of tobacco and environmental carcinogens, by the UDP-glycosyltransferase 3A subfamily that utilizes alternative cosubstrates. Ana took advantage of the many programs ASPET offered and applied for the 2017-2018 cohort for the ASPET Mentoring Program and was selected. She attended the Experimental Biology conference from 2017 to 2019 as a graduate student and got the opportunity to give an oral presentation and three poster presentations. She participated in the ASPET Student/Postdoc Poster Competition as a finalist for multiple years for the division in drug metabolism and disposition (DMD) and the Dolores C. Shockley best presentation award, which allowed her to communicate her research to a broad audience and got to meet experts in her field. ASPET became a scientific home, making Ana want to get involved in the society. She joined the Young Scientist Committee from 2018 to 2020, where she helped plan programming, professional development, and outreach activities for ASPET early career members. After completing her Ph.D. in 2020, Ana joined Merck as a Senior Scientist in the ADME & Discovery Toxicology department, where she supports the pipeline by performing drug metabolism enzyme-related studies.
Ana has received numerous awards for her scientific achievements and service. She received an NIH research supplement to promote diversity in health-related research; the AWIS Star Affiliate Award for advancing women in STEM at the WSU Health Sciences campus; and a Merck award for the advancement of DEI towards attracting, building, and retaining a diverse talent pool. She is currently a board member (2019-2022); Co-Chair of the Industry, Government, and Public Relations Subcommittee; and a member of the Finance Committee for the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Ana is also the Chair (2021-2022) of the ISSX New Investigators Group and the Co-lead for Business Insights for Global Talent Acquisition in the Alianza Employee Business Resource Group at Merck.
For her, it is rewarding to continue doing research while having time to get involved in scientific societies. Coming from a low-income household and being a first-generation student makes her reflect on what she had to overcome to be where she is now and inspires her to help others succeed in STEM. She has mentored graduate students who want to enter the pharmaceutical industry and was a guest Speaker in Meet the Experts in Biotech and Pharma, DMD Division Meet the Experts, and Undergrad Networking Luncheon at the 2022 Experimental Biology conference. Giving back to the scientific community and students is one of her favorite parts of being a scientist and gives her the fuel to continue advancing in her career. Her motto is dream, believe, and make it happen!