Ana Maria Porras is a biomedical engineer and an ASTC IF/THEN Ambassador.

Our Meet the Engineer series features the work of IF/THEN Ambassadors in engineering fields. Each profile shares stories, videos, activities, and free downloads, all designed to inspire girls to pursue STEM. The Works Museum is a proud recipient of an IF/THEN Gender Equity Grant.


How did I get here? One day, my mom barged into my room to tell me she had learned about a group of Bioengineers that were trying to design better plants. I didn’t know you could do engineering with living things, so I got VERY excited.

I learned that biomedical engineers solve problems related to human health and I immediately fell in love. Unfortunately, there were very few Biomedical Engineering programs in Colombia. So, I packed everything in 2 suitcases and landed in the United States 13 years ago.


Cornell Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow Ana Maria Porras is an internationally-recognized biomedical engineer, a career she didn’t even know existed growing up in Colombia. Her extensive research ranges from tissue engineering to the gut microbiome, but her passion is combining her love of engineering, crochet art, and science communication.

Ana’s work using crocheted microbes to engage the public with science online has been highlighted in Forbes magazine. Originally from Colombia, Ana is also the co-director of communications for Clubes de Ciencia Colombia and the co-founder of LatinXinBME, two inclusive communities that foster diversity in STEM.


Ana holds a Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. In her free time, she loves to travel, bake, swim, read, dance, and above all, eat ice cream.

“My advice to you? Be brave and don’t be scared to try new things. Maybe one day you’ll also have a job that goes beyond your imagination. If I could do it, so can you!”

Ana Maria Porras

Learn about our other If/Then Ambassadors:

Ritu Raman  |  Dana Bolles  |  Helen Tran  |  Ana Maria Porras  |  Ciara Sivels  |  Erika Anderson