Julie Gonzalez earned a BS in Biology and Chemistry from Upper Iowa University and an MS and Graduate Certificate in Forensics from Iowa State University.
Gonzalez is passionate about the field and what DMACC Biotechnology students can do -- and experience – while learning and after graduation.
As a payload developer for NASA, Gonzalez oversaw the growing of the green algae Haematococcus pluvialis at DMACC which was sent to the International Space Station aboard Spacex 17 in the Dragon capsule. The algae spent a month in space monitored and documented by astronauts before returning to the DMACC Biotechnology lab. There, comparative studies conducted by students under Gonzalez’s supervision examined the effects of microgravity on the production of astaxanthin, a pigment molecule shown to be a strong antioxidant, capable of protecting eye and bone tissue from radiation exposure.
Recently, Gonzalez helped establish a partnership between DMACC and the USDA Veterinary Labs in Ames. DMACC biotechnology students can now to participate in a year-long internship at the end of their biotech degree with training in multiple labs at the USDA.
“Students who complete the Biotechnology internship at the USDA become eligible to apply for full time permanent positions there,” Gonzalez said. “Even if students do not stay at the USDA, the training during the internship makes the student a valuable candidate for any other lab position. It really is a unique opportunity and will give students a huge advantage moving forward as a lab professional.”
Gonzalez says one of the best things about teaching at DMACC in Biotechnology field is the ability to take students to local companies, show them the real world application of what they are learning, and know they leave prepared to work in a variety of companies and research institutions in Iowa and throughout the United States.
“Iowa has a strong Biotechnology industry, offering a diverse range of opportunities for students to choose from,” said Gonzalez. “If a student has an interest in biology, chemistry, genetics, human or veterinary medicine or any related field, there is a career in biotechnology somewhere that would be perfect for them.”
In her free time, Gonzalez, her husband, and two children enjoy spending time at The Simple Greek, a restaurant in Ankeny owned by her husband, as well as spending time outdoors biking, kayaking, and taking care of the animals on their farm.
Contact Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 964-6379.