Contributions to STEMM
Dr. Mirpuri divides her time at UT Southwestern between providing essential care in the neonatal intensive care unit and conducting research into probiotics and immunology in the developing neonatal intestine. “I am a physician scientist,” she said. "As a physician, I take care of sick and preterm babies in the neonatal intensive care unit and as a scientist I study how the newborn's immune system interacts with the bacteria in the intestine. I also teach trainees about neonatal intensive care and mentor students in my laboratory.”
Dr. Mirpuri was drawn to a career in medicine from a young age.
“I have always loved science and biology, in particular. I continually sought out extra-curricular activities that were STEMM-related and told anyone who would listen that I wanted to become a doctor.”
Her interest in medicine stemmed from a series of impactful events in her childhood. “My older brother had special needs and as a young child I went to a lot of doctor’s appointments with my mother and him,” she said. “I met a lot of different doctors; some I didn't like and some I liked a lot. There was one female physician in particular who was always so supportive and had excellent bedside manners. My mother was always so inspired after appointments with her and I wanted to be a doctor just like her!”
The UT Southwestern Difference
Dr. Mirpuri values the patient interaction in her clinical practice at UT Southwestern. “I truly love taking care of babies and supporting their parents through the difficult experience of having a baby in the NICU,” she said. “I also love that I can go to work every day and do what I truly enjoy, which is take care of others, teach, and explore my intellectual curiosity."
"It's like always being a curious kid when I’m in the lab and doing research. I ask questions and can figure out the answers or explore how to answer them by planning experiments!”
While in the lab, Dr. Mirpuri values the hands-on mentorship she is able to provide. “There is no greater joy than passing knowledge to others and helping them succeed. It is a privilege,” she said. She continues mentoring students outside the lab through her involvement in the IF/THEN ambassador program, which provides female mentorship within the STEMM community to young girls. She was honored with a 3-D printed statue as a part of the program’s #IFTHENSHECAN exhibit, displayed prominently at NorthPark Mall in Dallas and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
“I followed my passion for STEMM and never allowed myself to listen to those who said that I couldn’t do it or that it was too difficult. That would be my advice for young girls and women, surround yourself with positive influences and never let anyone tell you that you can't do it, because you can.”