Maria de Los Angeles Serrano, PhD
Assistant Professor
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
Vascular Biology

PhD, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán
BS, Universidad Nacional de Misiones

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Dr. Serrano’s research program at BU aims to develop pioneering work toward understanding shared cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopment and vasculogenesis in the context of rare diseases with an epigenetic basis. Examples of these are Kabuki Syndrome, caused by pathogenic variants in the KMT2D gene, and KAT6-related disorders.

Dr. Serrano created the stable null KMT2D zebrafish mutant line and fully characterized multiple novel cardiovascular phenotypes for the first time in zebrafish. In addition, her work led to her discovery that KMT2D directly modulates Notch signaling and that some of the Kabuki Syndrome phenotypes can be alleviated by controlling levels of the Notch pathway.

Her research interest focuses on studying non-canonical epigenetic mechanisms regulating neuronal differentiation and blood vessel patterning. This is specifically during cell differentiation, migration, and cell cycle progression. To reach this goal, Dr. Serrano combines her expertise in rare disease modeling in zebrafish, cardiovascular and neurobiology techniques, and human iPSC-derived nervous system organoids.

One of Dr. Serrano’s goals is to bridge the gap between basic research, clinicians, and patients by building a research network that will encourage interdisciplinary collaborations in the field of rare diseases. Her work in the field of rare diseases, commitment to mentoring, and advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical elements of Dr. Serrano’s professional goals and lab vision.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

In our lab, we nurture a culture that values diversity, collaboration, and scientific rigor. I’ve mentored students from underrepresented communities in science and offered long-term support beyond their experiences in the lab.

I strive to create a safe, inclusive, and respectful environment for scientific discussion. I understand the importance to show openness by exhibiting my challenges as a first-generation Latin American woman in STEM. I do so while also showing strong confidence in executing the necessary steps to overcome them. This strategy offers a leveled and respectful framework for mentees from all backgrounds and experience levels to find their scientific voice.

I believe that improving ethnic and racial representation in academia requires strategies that will encourage future scientists from a very early age. I have worked with programs and panel discussions designed to encourage K-12 students to think of themselves as scientists, teaching them that curiosity is the only required skill to be a scientist, and sharing with them programs that can help them to achieve their goals if they wish to pursue a path in STEM.

I also focus on longer-term mentorship. I maintain contact with past trainees, show interest in their subsequent professional paths, and make myself available to support them through challenges in academia. I believe in the higher purpose of science and the ability of my former mentees to impact directly and profoundly their underserved communities.

Discovering mechanisms of Kabuki Syndrome neurodevelopmental defects in zebrafish and human iPSC-derived brain organoids
01/01/2022 - 12/31/2022 (PI)
Warren Alpert Foundation


Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 6 publications over 6 distinct years, with a maximum of 1 publications in 2010 and 2011 and 2013 and 2018 and 2019 and 2023


2023 Boston University: Janetos Climate Action Prize
2022-2023 Boston University: CCL Grant
2020-2022 Warren Alpert: Warren-Alpert Distinguished Scholar Transition Grant
2018-2020 American Heart Association : Postdoctoral Fellowship
2017-2018 American Association of Anatomists: Postdoctoral Fellowship

I aspire to be a “transitional mentor,” someone whose mentees are in the process of continual improvement throughout their professional journey to become better mentors and leaders themselves. Equally, I am always something of a mentee myself, someone who teaches her students and learns from them. I also guide mentees to achieve professional goals while establishing clear expectations. I encourage independence and ownership of scientific projects while promoting accountability. I nurture creative thinking while offering guidelines to thrive in the wider scientific community. I promote mentoring teams so that my mentees can benefit from diverse leaders in our field. I cultivate a safe environment where failure engenders the opportunity to learn. I promote openness, and I try to spark commitment and passion in each mentee and among each other by encouraging them to contribute to the development of the strategic plan for the lab.

Available to Mentor as: (Review Mentor Role Definitions):
  • Advisor
  • Career Mentor
  • Co-Mentor or Peer Mentor
  • Diversity Mentor
  • Project Mentor
  • Research / Scholarly Mentor
  • Work / Life Integration Mentor
Contact for Mentoring:
  • Email (see 'Contact Info')

670 Albany St
Boston MA 02118
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