Cesar’s Journey to YALE UNIVERSITY!

Hi my name is Cesar A. De Leon. Currently, I am a senior chemistry graduate student (Ph.D. candidate) at the University of Southern California. At USC, I am a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP) and USC’s Dornsife Doctoral Fellowship (DDF). My current research focus is on studying biochemical pathways that can prevent or slow down the neurodegeneration observed in Parkinson’s disease. Aside from being a full-time graduate student, I am strongly committed to giving back to my community and helping raise others to succeed. Currently, I am the head coach for two soccer teams (U6 and U8) and the assistant coach for a U10 boys team. In addition to coaching, I have organized several community outreach visits to USC in which elementary, high school, or undergraduate students visit our laboratory and learn about science and college. I have also given several chemistry demonstrations at various elementary and middle schools such as KIPP Corazon, KIPP Comienza, Caroldale, and Thomas Edison. Collectively, these experiences have made me aware of the need for strong role models, especially those who advocate an interest in STEM related fields and in an advanced education. My path to this point would have been impossible if it were not for the mentors who guided me along the way. As a future professor, I look forward to impacting the lives of students in the same way.

On May 10th, I will be receiving my doctorate degree from USC with honors. More importantly, I have received a postdoctoral position at Yale in the laboratory of Dr. Craig Crews. As a postdoc at Yale, I will be working on developing small-molecules that can target and destroy the disease-causing proteins found in Parkinson’s disease. The purpose of this fundraiser is to request your assistance in helping me get to Yale. As a graduate student with three beautiful children and a wife who is also pursuing her education, I currently cannot afford the cost of relocation on my own (airfare, moving company, car transportation, passports, deposit for apartment, clothes for the winter, etc.). I truly want to attend Yale in order to continue my education and be a role model for my family and community. Attending Yale will not only allow me to further expand my skill set, but will enable me to pursue an academic position as a professor. Through which I hope to one day instruct the children I have inspired, motivated, or coached in the past. This is why I need your help and really appreciate any contribution to offset the cost. Even just sharing this GoFundMe page will have a significant impact. I thank you in advance and hope that one day I am blessed with the opportunity to return the favor.

Below you will find my Academic Achievements and an article on me. 



*Ph.D in Chemistry (USC, 3.82)(May 2014 - May 2018)
*Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (CSUDH, 3.79)(Sept. 2009 - May 2014)

Research Experience:

*University of Southern California (Dr. Matthew Pratt)
*Scripps Research Institute (Dr. Ryan Shenvi)
*Ohio State University (Dr. James V. Coe)
*California State Univ. Dominguez Hills (Dr. Kenneth Rodriguez)


*National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (USC)
*Dornsife Doctoral Fellow (USC)
*SURF Program Scholar (Scripps)
*ACCESS Scholar (MIT)
*Federal One Credit Union Scholarship (CSUDH)
*Educational Opportunity Program Scholar (CSUDH)


*Graduate Student Research Award (USC)
*Graduated with Magna Cum Laude (CSUDH)
*Presented at CSU Statewide Research Competition (CSUDH)
*First place for oral presentation at the Student Research Day (CSUDH)
*Nominated for Presidential Perseverance Award at CSUDH (CSUDH)
*Second place for oral presentation at the Student Research Day (CSUDH)
*Second place for oral presentation at the Student Research Day (CSUDH)
*1st place poster Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (CSUDH)
*Nominated for Presidential Leadership Award (CSUDH)
*Honor Roll/Dean’s List (CSUDH)


*Lewis, Y. E., Galesic, A., Levine, P. M., De Leon, C. A., Lamiri, N., Brennan, C. K., & Pratt, M. R. (2017). O-GlcNAcylation of α-Synuclein at Serine 87 Reduces Aggregation without Affecting Membrane Binding. ACS Chem. Bio. 
*De Leon, C. A., Levine, P. M., Craven, Timothy, & Pratt, M. R. (2017). The sulfur-linked analog of O-GlcNAc (S-GlcNAc) is an enzymatically stable and structurally-equivalent modification to O-GlcNAc at the peptide and protein levels. Biochemistry.
*Levine, P. M., De Leon, C. A., Galesic, A., Balana, A., Marotta, N. P., Lewis, Y. E., & Pratt, M. R. (2017). O-GlcNAc modification inhibits the calpain-mediated cleavage of α-synuclein. Bioorg. & Med. Chem.
*De Leon, C. A., Lang, Geoffrey, Saavedra, Marcos, & Pratt, M. R. (2018). Democratizing β-Glycosides for SPPS of GlcNAc Glycopeptides. Journal of American Chemical Society (Manuscript in Submission).


 See top
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 34 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 34 mos
  • Beatrice Reyes 
    • $25 
    • 34 mos
  • Karl Berwyn 
    • $100 
    • 35 mos
  • Dr. Craig Crews 
    • $3,500 (Offline)
    • 35 mos
See all


Berenice Deleon 
Bell Gardens, CA
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