A native of Florida, Dr. Arana attended Florida State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She received her Doctorate degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Leonard Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami. Her graduate work focused on DNA transactions in the herpes simplex type-1 genome.
Continuing with the theme of DNA replication, she joined the DNA Replication Fidelity group as an IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow at NIEHS. Her interests are directed towards understanding the fidelity of human DNA polymerases in addition to studying proteins involved in mismatch repair processes. In her current position as a biologist, her focus on human DNA polymerases continues and expands towards studying genome-wide gene expression changes in yeast strains.
Recently, Arana has expanded her teaching and mentoring experience by giving several lectures to students participating in the NIH Summer Internship program, undergraduate students from North Carolina Central University and high school science teachers during EHP workshops. She has also been involved in several outreach projects with Chapel Hill, Durham and Miami-Dade county schools.