The Significance Of A Healthy Mind with Hector de Jesus Cortes, Ep 41

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From sports to neuroscience

In this episode of How to be the Difference, Johanna and Paul sit down with Puerto Rican Hector de Jesus Cortes, a PhD candidate in Neuroscience at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas TX. Hector’s work in the lab focuses on understanding the brain at different levels to ultimately discover treatments for psychiatric and neurologic disorders. 

Hector became the first Latino President of the Postdoctoral Association at MIT, was awarded in 2019 with “El Mundo’s Latino 30 under 30” with a special award from Blue Cross Blue Shield for his leadership roles and science impact in Boston, and, more recently with the 2022 MIT School of Science Infinite Award for his awe-inspiring commitment of time and energy to research, outreach, education, mentorship, and community.

In this inspiring conversation, Hector shares his journey from wanting to become a baseball player to being at the forefront of lab research for degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. He also discusses neuroplasticity, habits for a healthy brain, and his take on mindfulness.

Join this episode of How to be the Difference to learn more about the importance of mentorships, why it is necessary to talk about mental illness, and why curiosity and discipline are more relevant than good grades for success.

Outline of this episode:

  • [02:30] – About Hector
  • [04:51] – The importance of having mentors.
  • [07:13] – What is neuroscience and why is it important?
  • [11:35] – How can we exercise mental flexibility in today’s world?
  • [15:22] – The importance of practice.
  • [16:33] – Habits to increase plasticity in the brain.
  • [21:54] – What’s the future of work?
  • [24:21] – You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room.
  • [27:59] – What’s next for Hector?

Resources and people mentioned: 

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