This series introduces the public and fellow researchers to our talented scientists. We interview different IGI members to find out who they are and what makes them passionate about science.
Dr. Hector Sanchez is a postdoctoral fellow in the Marshall Lab at UC Berkeley. His work focuses on developing gene drive technology to control agricultural pest populations and boost crop production.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Mexico City, but throughout my Ph.D. I travelled constantly to UCLA, then to UC Berkeley, UCSF, and UW; so right now I’m just trying to find my place working here in Berkeley, and enjoy meeting new people.
Why did you become a scientist?
When I was a kid I was always curious to know how everything worked (and took apart every electronic device I could get my hands on… sorry mom and dad). It’s the reason I went into mechatronics engineering for undergrad, but I didn’t quite enjoy working in the industry. After a couple of research internships, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science. That’s when I discovered the excitement of being a scientist. There’s always something new to do out there, and I wanted to be one of the people to figure those things out. I never imagined that I would end up working and being passionate about mosquito-borne disease elimination. That was a pleasant surprise.
What do you like to do besides research?
I enjoy playing guitar and singing. It’s been my hobby for around 15 years now, so I try to practice as often as possible. I also like flying FPV racing drones and visiting art museums (my mom used to take me to a lot of art exhibits when I was a kid, so I find it relaxing and interesting).
Describe a funny memory you have of working in the lab or in research.
Once I left some thesis experiments running for about four weeks in my computer in México while I was working at UCSF, only to find out that my sister had aborted their execution halfway through because she wanted to use “the fancy monitor” to modify some Excel spreadsheets.
Tell us about someone or something that inspires you.
I’ve always admired people who go out into the field and directly help people in need. Even though my skillset is poorly suited for that, I’d like to think that I can do good even if it is in an indirect way.
What would you do if you weren’t a scientist?
Rockstar! Although I’m kind of shy, so I don’t really know how that would work out in practice. Guess I should stick to science for now.