Filipino neurologist and activist, Sero Parel (they/them), inspired young Filipino scientist enthusiasts with their auspicious backstory, from bringing their advocacies from the streets to their laboratory.
Sero Parel is a Ph.D. candidate in Neuroscience at Princeton University in which they specialize in mental health illness, early-life stress, and research about childhood trauma. They graduated with a Bachelor’s degree majoring in Neuroscience, with minors in Economics and Comparative American Studies from Oberlin College and worked as a research technician at the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Parel’s incomparable background in forwarding and addressing societal issues and problems have become their stepping stone into pursuing community works through the help of science and technology.
They co-founded the Association of Filipino Scientists in America (AFSA), a community of Filipino scientists in America who seek to utilize their expertise to support the Filipino community.
Amid Parel’s research about early-life stress and childhood trauma, they themselves experience struggling with the same matter. “I was actually in the hospital for a week. I had admitted myself to a psychiatric hospital—partly because of the pressure of performing as a grad student and partly due to social/political/ life issues. My symptoms of depression, anxiety, and attention/executive dysfunction had slowly been worsening over the past couple of years. I felt out of control of my emotions to the point where I was considering taking my life. I needed to seek help,” Parel shared.
This experience has driven Parel to pursue science that serves the masses who suffer from debilitating mental illness, and those who do not have access to mental health, especially the poor and working-class.
Parel started championing the interest of the masses when they was young and it drove them to continue upholding the rights of the people through scientific work.
“I see my scientific work in the lab as part and parcel of serving the interests of the farmers, the working class, the poor, women, queer and trans folk, not only in the Philippines but across the globe.” Parel reiterated.
This young Filipino scientist believes that science is political and by joining a grassroots or mass organization we could solve underlying problems which include capitalism and imperialism.
Serving the masses has been Parel’s passion, and it evidently shows with their great works.