Claudia Varela

Claudia Varela

Name: Claudia Varela Patiño
Country: Chile
Mentor: Dr. Mark Wallace


Hi, my name is Claudia Varela Patiño and I am a Southern Hemisphere 2014 VISRA student coming from the long and narrow country of Chile.

I am currently finishing my undergraduate studies at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile where I studied Biology and in the near future I plan to obtain a PhD.   

As soon as I heard about this program I knew it was the right fit for me.  Not only does it give you the chance to gain invaluable research experience, but allows you to live a great character building venture, while interacting with people from all around the world. I strongly recommend giving the program a try if you would like to pursue a career in science.

Everyone has been extremely welcoming. The VISRA and VISP community are constantly offering help and organizing bond building activities. They make sure your visit is as comfortable and amazing as possible. Furthermore, they are especially helpful in providing you with an understanding of American and Vanderbilt PhD programs to such a point that they even help you out with your GRE prep. They also hold weekly mentoring sessions where Vanderbilt faculty members come and discuss administrative aspects of science, such as PhD applications and publications.

Nashville is a marvelous city that will keep you entertained 24/7. Southern hospitality is present everywhere!  The music life is incredible and you will find live music constantly.

During my stay at Vanderbilt I was fortunate to work in Dr. Wallace’s Lab that studies Multisensory Integration. Their research focus is understanding how the brain combines and binds information from different sensory systems and how this affects our perceptions and behavior. Moreover, they are also interested in examining how these multisensory processes may be altered in clinical conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexia. I have been able to work with an M.D. PhD student from whom I have learned new techniques and methodologies.

I am extremely grateful for this all-around amazing and enriching opportunity and I am sure you will be to!