Mercaptor Team Member Spotlight: Esmeralda Ponce

Mercaptor Team Member Spotlight: Esmeralda Ponce

Mercaptor Discoveries is made up of amazing people who pursue science with the goal of helping millions who suffer from neurodegenerative conditions including #ALS, #CTE, #TBI, #MS and more.Today we highlight Esmeralda (Esme) Ponce, Research Associate II.

Esme has been part of Mercaptor Discoveries since day one. Before Mercaptor Discoveries, she was part of Raptor Pharmaceuticals since March 2015.
She is always enthusiastic about helping others and getting us involved in charity work.

We asked this talented and compassionate scientist a few questions about what motivates her at Mercaptor and outside of work.

Q. What are your passions/favorite projects at work?

A. I love and live for the science here at Mercaptor Discoveries. Some of my favorite projects at work are developing, performing and analyzing experiments that give insight on, for example, how much ROS is produced during oxidative stress or excitotoxicity and how Captons can rescue from excitotoxicity. I enjoy studying the tiniest things in lab, those that they naked eye cannot see, like the cell and molecular mechanisms behind oxidative stress, excitotoxicity and cell rescue via Capton administration. Some of my favorite lab techniques include cell culture, Western blot, RT-PCR, immunofluorescence, cell fractionation and more.

Q. What are your passions/favorite things to do outside of work?

A. Some of my favorite things to do outside of work are spending time with my loved ones, hiking, reading, practicing kettlebell sport at least
3 times a week and whenever time and circumstance allow I love to travel to learn from and immerse myself in the different cultures of this world. One of my most cherished cultural travel experience was spending time with the people of Uros Island on Lake Titicaca, Peru, because it was there that I built a long-lasting friendship with my host family and opened my eyes to the problem of global climate change and pollution that is impacting and affecting the livelihoods of Lake Titicaca communities.

Q. Do you have any volunteer work or community outreach you would like to highlight?

A. With the help of everyone on the Mercaptor Discoveries team, I have been a team captain in walks that help raise funds and awareness to neurodegenerative
diseases such as ALS and Parkinson’s disease. I love volunteer work and community outreach. One of my favorite community outreach event was held last year at a Community Resource Fair in San Rafael, CA. At the fair team, Mercaptor Discoveries made beady neurons with children from all ages and their families. While making the neurons the team shared with participants why neurons are so important because of the role they play in our day to day activities. Brain healthy tips were distributed to all attendees in both English and Spanish. My favorite part about this event was interacting with the families and the children. There were many children of all ages who showed a genuine interest in science, which is amazing because science has always been my favorite subject.

Q. What do you love about working at Mercaptor?

A. I love many things about working at Mercaptor. I love the science and the team. The team consists of very talented individuals who are passionate
about the science and making a genuine real difference in the world.

Q. Do you have a pet that you bring to work?

A. I love that I can bring my dog Manchego “Chego” to work every day. He is my little Chihuahua-Miniature Pinscher mix ray of sunshine.

Q. Have anything to add?

A. Recently I participated in my first kettlebell sport competition. After my set was over one of my competitors, let’s call him J, came up to me
and thanked me for inspiring him to keep up with me. This came to a surprise to me because I never knew that I was performing well. When I got up there [the stage] I focused on doing my best without looking to my left or my right to check out how many reps my competitors had done. J taught me a very special lesson that day, he brought to my attention that you are inspiring people who you don’t even realize are watching you, just by showing up and doing your best. So, I encourage you to show up, have courage, be kind and be you, you never know who is watching.

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