Dr. Esquiaqui graduated in 2010 from University of Central Florida (UCF), where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. It was at UCF that she became interested in RNA biochemistry while performing undergraduate research, wherein she studied structure and function of bacterial RNA riboswitches. Her research and first publication motivated her to continue to follow her studies in the field of RNA.
In 2011, Dr. Esquiaqui began her doctoral studies at the University of Florida (UF) in the department of chemistry, concentrating in biochemistry and biophysics. During her career at UF, Jackie was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate research fellowship to fund her doctoral research which focused on the development and implementation of spectroscopic approaches for elucidating RNA dynamics and folding pathways. Her work included the development and optimization of RNA site-directed spin labeling (SDSL) strategies, in conjunction with electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy experiments, to probe dynamics and conformational changes in RNA structure. Among several awards received, Jackie was the recipient of the William and Arlene Ruegamer Biochemistry Scholarship, the Procter & Gamble Award for Excellence in Research, and winner of the Association for Academic Women Emerging Scholar competition. Her studies and research produced six peer-reviewed publications of significant findings in her research. Jackie graduated from UF in 2016 with a Ph.D. in chemistry.
Jackie moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan where she began her postdoctoral research studies in 2017, in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School (UM). There, through the fall of 2019, she continued advancing her interest in RNA structural dynamics by working on HIV RNA splicing regulatory mechanisms. While at UM, Jackie was the recipient of the NIH Molecular Mechanisms in Microbial Pathogenesis (MMMP) Postdoctoral (T32) Training Grant Award.
While pursuing her graduate degree at the University of Florida, Jackie initiated and established an outreach teaching program called “Impressed Minds Pay Attention when Chemistry is Taught” (IMPACT). Through IMPACT, Jackie fostered her passion for teaching while helping high school students excel in their chemistry education. Through fun, interactive, and hands-on demonstrations, Jackie taught college level chemistry concepts to high school students and introduced them to opportunities which might be afforded them in pursuit of a college degree in the sciences. At PBA, Dr. Esquiaqui is thrilled to continue her passion for engaging, mentoring, and exciting students in their learning of chemistry with a focus on faith and biblical foundations.