Diana A. Yanez was born in California and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. From a young age, she learned the value of hard work from her parents who sacrificed their life to raise their four children. After high school, she moved back to the United States in pursuit of academic and professional opportunities. She is grateful to her significant other, parents, siblings, aunts, and uncles for their unconditional support throughout her journey.
Diana’s interest in medicine and research grew at Cerritos Community College thanks to her dedicated professors. After attending the Bridges to Baccalaureate summer research program, she not only graduated with highest honors but transferred to UCLA, where she obtained a BS in molecular, cell and developmental biology and a minor in biomedical research. During her college career, Diana volunteered at health fairs and hospitals, and was a leader in organizations dedicated to improving healthcare in low-income communities, including Chicanos Latinos for Community Medicine and the Black and Latino AIDS Project.
After graduation, she joined the laboratory of her mentor, Professor Jeremy Stark, where she coinvented a system that improves the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology, which is used to study disease mechanisms and develop therapies. Diana has coauthored six peer-reviewed publications in fields of cardiogenesis, DNA repair, and immunology.
Now at Yale, Diana is investigating the role of immune cells in the development of skin cancer in the laboratory of Associate Professor Oscar Colegio. Additionally, she is proud to be a part of HAVEN, a student-run free clinic. Her long-term goal is to manage her own cancer immunology research laboratory, while concurrently sharing the benefits of her expertise through clinical trials and an oncology practice dedicated to improving outcomes among underserved patient populations.