Xiomarie Alejandro-Navarreto, is a Latina born and raised on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. Xiomarie received her bachelor's degree in microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao where she conducted research in biophysics and organic chemistry. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she moved to Chicago to start her graduate education. Xiomarie completed a Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at the University of Chicago in 2015-16 and joined Sean Crosson’s laboratory in the Department of microbiology as a PREP Scholar. After her time at UChicago, Xiomarie enrolled at the University of Illinois at Chicago to pursue her doctoral degree in the Graduate Education in Biomedical Sciences (GEMS) program. Xiomarie joined the laboratory of Dr. Nancy Freitag at UIC and is continuing her research in microbiology. The Freitag Lab aims to understand the bacterial stress response of Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) and the factors that contribute to bacterial survival within infected humans and food processing environments. By deepening our knowledge of the stress response of this foodborne pathogen, we can develop better sanitation methods and more effective treatment strategies for fighting Lm infections. Throughout her graduate career, Xiomarie has taught and mentored undergraduate trainees in her lab and is also an active member of her local SACNAS chapter serving as Secretary of the Board.
Xiomarie enjoys travelling around the world to meet new people and learn about new cultures. She also loves drinking strong Puerto Rican coffee. In her free time, she likes to embroider, bake, listen to music, and take pictures. She is passionate about mentoring and supporting underrepresented students in sciences because she understands the crucial importance of mentorship for underrepresented students in academia. Xiomarie operates on two principles: 1.) There are no dumb questions. She encourages all students to ask questions and foster curiosity. 2.) Everyone deserves a chance. She encourages all students to be confident and never compare themselves to others.