Pew funds biomedical research for 10 Latin American scientists

PHILADELPHIA–The Pew Charitable Trusts today announced the 2019 class members of the Pew Latin American Fellows Program in the Biomedical Sciences.

The 10 postdoctoral fellows from six Latin American countries–Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico–will receive two years of funding to conduct research in laboratories in the United States, where they will work under the mentorship of prominent biomedical scientists, including members of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences.

“Scientific exploration and discovery should be a global pursuit,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, Pew’s president and CEO. “Pew is pleased to support these exceptional fellows from Latin America, who are dedicated to advancing biomedical research and expanding scientific expertise in their home countries.”

Research interests in the 2019 class include how immune cells in the gut distinguish infectious microbes from healthy bacteria, how the brain interprets and responds appropriately to sound, and the molecular strategies infectious bacteria use to invade plant hosts. Notably, fellows who choose to return to Latin America to launch their own research labs will receive additional funding from Pew. Approximately 70 percent of participants have pursued this path, with many now leading groundbreaking research efforts throughout the region.

“The 2019 class of fellows is composed of promising, dedicated, and passionate researchers who have the ability to chart new scientific courses in Latin America,” said Eva Nogales, Ph.D., professor in the department of biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology at the University of California, Berkeley and chair of the Pew program’s national advisory committee. “I look forward to seeing where their innovative research interests lead.”

The 2019 Pew Latin American fellows and their U.S. mentors are:

Daniel Almeida-Filho, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Alcino J. Silva, Ph.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Almeida-Filho will explore how navigational information is encoded in brain regions associated with spatial memory.

Maria Cecília Campos Canesso, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Gabriel D. Victora, Ph.D., 2019 Pew-Stewart scholar

The Rockefeller University

Dr. Campos Canesso will investigate how immune cells in the intestine decide whether to promote tolerance or incite an inflammatory response.

José Duhart, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Kyunghee Koh, Ph.D.

Thomas Jefferson University

Dr. Duhart will explore the brain regions of animals that help balance reproductive behavior and sleep.

María Florencia Ercoli, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Pamela C. Ronald, Ph.D.

University of California, Davis

Dr. Ercoli will uncover the molecular strategies that infectious bacteria use to invade plants.

Carmen Hernández Candia, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Chandra Tucker, Ph.D.

University of Colorado, Denver

Dr. Hernández Candia will explore how the formation of different types of cellular aggregates influences protein activity.

Esteban Orellana Vinueza, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Richard I. Gregory, Ph.D., 2008 Pew biomedical scholar

Boston Children’s Hospital

Dr. Orellana Vinueza will investigate whether changes in the chemical modification of RNA molecules play a role in the development of human cancers.

Fausto Andrés Ortiz-Morea, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Libo Shan, Ph.D.

Texas A&M University

Dr. Ortiz-Morea will explore how plants integrate and execute an immune response against invading pathogens.

Izabella A. Pena, Ph.D.

Laboratory of David M. Sabatini, M.D., Ph.D., 2003 Pew biomedical scholar

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Dr. Pena will explore how cells calibrate their growth, metabolism, and proliferation based on nutrient availability.

Bernardo Pinto, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Francisco Bezanilla, Ph.D.

University of Chicago

Dr. Pinto will investigate how nerve cells produce proteins they need to support electrical activity and chemical signaling in their axons.

Lucas Vattino, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Anne E. Takesian, Ph.D.

Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School

Dr. Vattino will explore the neural circuitry that allows the brain to interpret and respond appropriately to sound.

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The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Learn more at pewtrusts.org.

Media Contact
Erin Davis
edavis@pewtrusts.org

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