Aaron Rodriques attended Purdue University from August 2016 to December 2021. He is a recent PhD graduate. His research areas were insect biochemistry, molecular biology, and proteomics; he studied a German cockroach allergen known as Bla g 2, as well as other proteins present in German cockroach structures known as tergal glands. He worked under Dr. Ameya Gondhalekar and Dr. Gary Bennett. He has recently moved on to Columbia University as a postdoctoral research scientist, where his research focuses on the biochemistry of calcium channels involved in heart disease. Aaron’s time spent in the Purdue Entomology Urban Center helped him to develop essential skills as a scientist, teacher, and coworker. His research experience at Purdue University played a direct role in his current success at Columbia University. Aaron believes that his Purdue experience will continue to have long-lasting influence on his life as a scientist.
Comment from co-advisor (Ameya Gondhalekar): Aaron Rodriques (now Dr. Aaron Rodriques) has been a bug enthusiast since his childhood years. His enthusiasm and motivation towards the field of entomology is what convinced Dr. Gary Bennett and I to offer him a PhD position in the urban center at Purdue. Until Aaron enrolled in the Entomology PhD program at Purdue, he had not received formal educational or research training in this field.
Due to Aaron’s interest in biomedically-oriented entomology research, he was assigned a project to determine expression patterns and function of the Bla g 2 human allergenic protein produced by the German cockroach. Aaron used a multitude of techniques in molecular biology, biochemistry and proteomics to answer his doctoral research questions and is currently working on publishing two peer-reviewed papers related to this work. As a consequence of assigning Aaron a biomedically-oriented research project, which used both entomological as well as molecular and biochemical research techniques which led to his successful securing of two post doc offers from Columbia University School of Medicine at the conclusion of his PhD program.
Overall, Aaron’s dedication towards his project as well as his hard work and perseverance were crucial for his success in the PhD program at Purdue. It was a pleasure to serve as Aaron’s co-advisor along with Dr. Gary Bennett and helping him achieve the goal of becoming a researcher in the biomedical field.