Dr. Ana Maria Barral is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at National University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Medical Cell Biology at the University of Linkoping, Sweden and completed postdoctoral studies at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology in San Diego. Her experience also includes working in the private sector at a startup biotech company. At National University she is the Program Director of the Associate of Science in Human Biology and coordinator of the nonmajors’ general biology and microbiology courses. At National University she received the Presidential Award twice and was selected Teaching and Learning Fellow in 2017. Her current research interest focuses on science education research, particularly course based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). She has been an active participant of well-established CURE frameworks such as the Genomics Education Partnership and Tiny Earth. After completing in 2016 the ASM Biology Scholar training, her project was published in CBE Life Sciences Education. In 2018, the “Using Ocean Plastic Research to Increase Student Engagement and Persistence in Biology” project was awarded an “NSF new to HSIs” grant. She regularly mentors undergraduate research students. She is also active in outreach as part of the ASBMB Science Outreach and Communication Committee since 2017.