Destani Derrico

Destani Derrico

Current Institution: California State University, Monterey Bay 

Hometown: Concord, California

Fields of Interest:

Medical Genetics- Human and Animal

Microbial Genetics

Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Genetics

When and how did you realize that you wanted to study Genetics?

My passion for this field of study began when I had taken my genetics course in the summer of 2021. It was in this class that I felt that click where everything started to make sense and could organize my thoughts around biological processes and structures. This was a massive turning point in my academic journey because I felt reassured that there wasn’t anything else I’d rather be doing. Finding my path has not been easy, as I am the first person in my family to complete any kind of degree in the biological sciences, let alone pursue higher education. I believe the professor for genetics saw this unguided passion in me, because from that point on she became my mentor and helped guide me through the rest of my undergraduate experience. She hired me as a TA for genetics the next summer and was my personal advisor for my capstone project, and of course I attended a number of other courses she taught. Everything I learn related to genetics continuously astonishes me, and I am once again reminded of why I am choosing this direction in life.

Derrico, Destani

Why did you choose the Genetics PhD program at A&M?

When I had come to visit Texas A&M for the very first time, it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. There was never a moment of indecisiveness or any thoughts of “maybe”, it was only “when”. Those of us visiting had instantly clicked and I just knew this was my future cohort. The energy at Texas A&M is unmatched, something I have truthfully never experienced before and did not want to let go of. The interdisciplinary nature of the program was also quite appealing, and with how large the scientific community on campus is, I feel my ability to succeed and thrive here will be uninhibited, to say the least!

Destani Derrico

If you were free to choose anything, what research question/topic would you like to address for your graduate studies?

During my undergraduate experience, I wrote a paper on the effects of a COVID-19 infection on male fertility, primarily the viability of sperm. I would be interested in expanding upon this to female fertility as well as fetal development when viral infections occur. The methodology behind viral classification based on the form of their genetic information greatly interests me, so it would be a golden opportunity to study not only human but viral genetics as well!

Fun Facts:

Do you have any hidden talents? If so, what are they?

If it can be considered a “talent”, I donate blood regularly! It is quite nice doing it through the American Red Cross because they update you on where your donation is going and how many people it is going to help. I’m excited to begin making donations at the Bryan chapter!

Do you have any pets? If so, please tell us about them.

I have two cockatiels that will be coming with me to Texas! Nugget was found outside and brought to a local rescue, otherwise she would not have survived due to her disabilities in her legs. Duckie belonged to a friend of mine but other birds would pluck and attack him so I took him in. Now they have each other for company, and they love to chirp and EAT!

Derrico, Destani