Elba Serrano, Ph.D.

Dr. Elba Serrano, Regents Professor at New Mexico State University, received her undergraduate degree in physics with distinction from the University of Rochester and her Ph.D. in biological sciences from Stanford University, with an emphasis in neuroscience and biophysics. Dr. Serrano completed postdoctoral training at Stanford University Medical School (Neurology) and UCLA School of Medicine (Brain Research Institute) prior to accepting a position at New Mexico State University. Her current research interests focus on neural tissue engineering and disorders of hearing and balance. She has been continuously funded by awards from diverse agencies and the private sector since her arrival at NMSU (NIH; NASA; NSF; CINT; Whitehall Foundation). Her grants portfolio includes leadership of grants for research, research education, instrumentation, institutional partnerships, and faculty professional development. 

Dr. Serrano has worked to broaden participation in STEM for over 10 years as PI/PD of NIH R25 research training programs (RISE; BP-ENDURE BRAiN) and as primary research mentor for more than 120 NMSU graduate and undergraduate students, with whom she has published over 100 journal articles and abstracts. Many of her advisees are participants in mentored research programs supported by federal agency training grants (NIH RISE, MARC, BRIDGES, BP-ENDURE; NSF AMP, CREST, IGERT; NMSGC; HHMI). Her former students hold faculty positions in diverse academic settings, from minority-serving community colleges to research intensive medical school departments. Prof. Serrano has taught over 3000 NMSU students and developed 23 different courses at all academic levels (non-majors freshman to graduate doctoral).  She is committed to the professional development of junior faculty and young investigators. Dr. Serrano has participated as a mentor in the NSF ADVANCE program since its inception at NMSU and is a member of the NIH ACD Next-Gen Working Group.   

Her distinctions include election as an AAAS Fellow, the 2015 SACNAS Distinguished Research Mentor Award, and the NMSU Donald C. Roush Award for Teaching Excellence. She has contributed to the NIH research mission through service on the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (Dr. Francis Collins), NIH NIDCD Council, AUD and TWD Study Sections, and the BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group (Neuroethics Division). As co-Chair of the NIH ACD Working Group on Diversity, Dr. Serrano worked to develop the June 2017 recommendations for increasing representation of diverse groups in biomedical research. She has a special interest in neuroethics and has offered courses, workshops, and lectures on science, ethics, and society for two decades. 

Dr. Serrano is a Hispanic-American, the daughter of a US Army Sergeant, and the first member of her family to earn a college degree.

Interview with Elba Serrano from a conference by Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes at Arizona State University