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Biography: Rafael E. Luna, PhD

Executive Director
National Research Mentoring Network
Principal Investigator
Administrative Core
Boston College

As the Executive Director of the National Research Mentoring Network and the Principal Investigator of the Administrative Core of NRMN located at Boston College, Dr. Rafael E. Luna utilizes data analytics to strategically grow NRMN and effectively reach all 50 states, including Hawaii, Alaska & Puerto Rico.

NRMN is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and is a nationwide consortium to enhance the training and career development of individuals from diverse backgrounds, communities, and cultures who are pursuing biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social science research careers (collectively termed biomedical research careers), through enhanced networking and mentorship experiences. The primary goal of NRMN is to enhance the participation in the biomedical workforce of individuals from groups identified as nationally underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences research enterprise.

Dr. Luna earned his bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During his junior year at Southern, he was one of six individuals selected from a nationwide competition to participate in the inaugural Biomedical Research Training Program at the National Institutes of Health, which ignited a passion for biomedical research. During his senior year at Southern, he was named as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar through Louisiana State University (LSU) and began doing molecular biology research. Dr. Luna thoroughly enjoyed his research experience, as he subsequently earned his doctorate in Biological Sciences at LSU. In 2015, Dr. Luna was named as one of six Keystone Symposia Fellows in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Dr. Luna performed his postdoctorate research at Harvard Medical School, which centered on elucidating the sequence of protein-protein interactions leading to the decoding of the initial start codons of messenger RNAs. Dr. Luna held the position of Instructor in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. He also held the role as Program Director for Senior Faculty Promotions in the Office for Faculty Affairs at Harvard Medical School.

In addition to doing biomedical research, Dr. Luna is a dynamic speaker and has taught scientific communication and storytelling throughout the world., e.g. Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT-Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer, Wyss Institute at Harvard, Cervantes Institute-History Department at Harvard University, Children’s Hospital-Boston, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston University Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, University of Bergen (Norway), Saarland University (Germany), University of Graz (Austria), London School of Economics (England) and many more. Dr. Luna also believes in giving back to the community by serving as a little league coach for 10 years in inner-city Boston and four years ago was elected as the President of Mission Hill Little League.

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