TWU offered grad mentorship, research opportunities

Daisy Cantu

As a child, Daisy Cantu struggled to find a stable home. As an adult, she found mentorship with professors at TWU who helped her find scientific topics that would fuel her career.

Now, Cantu, who earned a doctorate in molecular biology on Dec.15, 2023, is a step closer to living her research dream.

Cantu was inspired to study molecular biology out of an interest in the neuroscience behind pain. She sees large gaps in preclinical studies investigating orofacial pain and stress. In particular, she notes women experience three to four times greater craniofacial pain compared to men because 90% of preclinical and clinical studies in pain are conducted on male subjects. 

With her work, Cantu hopes to provide a greater understanding of the mechanisms underlying stress and orofacial pain to help develop gender-specific therapeutic strategies to treat pain.

She received support from the National Institutes of Health and an NIH National Research Service Award fellowship, which enabled her to travel to local, national, and international conferences to learn from experts in the field of pain. She says it gave her the resources to flourish as a scientist, leader, and teammate. 

It was her mentor, Dayna Averitt, PhD, a leader in the field of sex differences and pain, who was the driving force in Cantu’s choice for TWU to complete her doctorate. The university provided resources and guidance throughout her career as a graduate student. Not surprisingly, Cantu completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas Woman’s as well.

She said she chose Texas Woman’s because she fell in love with the campus the first time she visited, and loved the fact that students can get to know professors and staff.

After graduation, Cantu will be working as an associate clinical trial manager at Medpace, a global clinical research organization.

Media Contact

Matt Flores
Assistant Vice President, University Communications

Page last updated 9:23 AM, January 10, 2024