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On the Scientific Frontier: Pew Funds 10 Latin American Scientists Conducting Innovative Research

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PHILADELPHIA (June 13, 2013)—Ten scientists were named Pew Latin American Fellows in the Biomedical Sciences by The Pew Charitable Trusts today. The fellowship provides support to advance grantees' research, enables them to study with prominent U.S. scientists, and invests seed capital to help them establish laboratories in their home countries. It provides flexible funding to postdoctoral researchers investigating some of the world's most troubling health problems—including diabetes, schizophrenia, and cancer.

“The quest for impactful biomedical discoveries is a global effort, and our 22-year history of promoting an international exchange of scientific ideas is a proud one—with more than 200 Latin American scientists receiving support,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, president and CEO of Pew. “I have no doubt that this year's class will be a powerful force in advancing scientific and intellectual capital throughout the Americas.”

The Pew Latin American Fellows Program was launched in 1991 to cultivate outstanding researchers and to strengthen the infrastructure of biomedical science in Latin American countries. The program provides each fellow with salary support for two years of postdoctoral training in the laboratory of an established researcher in the United States. In some cases, those mentors come from the community of Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences—the sister program to the Pew Latin American Fellows in the Biomedical Sciences. The scholars program has for 28 years supported promising U.S. scientists early in their careers.

The Latin American fellowships are designated by a distinguished national advisory committee chaired by Torsten N. Wiesel, M.D., president emeritus of Rockefeller University and a 1981 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine.

“Scientific discoveries and innovations are, as we all know, not limited by geographic boundaries. This year's Pew Latin American fellows are among the most creative and committed scientific students to be found anywhere in the world,” said Wiesel. “They will undoubtedly further advance our scientific understanding and knowledge in biology and medicine.” 

As of 2008, 20 percent of foreign citizens who earned doctorates in the science, engineering, or health fields in the United States reported returning to their country of origin to work or live, according to the National Science Foundation. By contrast, more than 70 percent of the Pew Fellows return to their home countries to set up their own laboratories. In addition to the $30,000-a-year stipend that fellows receive while training in the United States, the program also offers $35,000 to those who go back.

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To date, Pew has dedicated more than $18 million in direct support for more than 200 Latin American fellows.

The 2013 Pew Latin American Fellows in the Biomedical Sciences and the laboratories in which they will train are:

Argentina
Estefanía Bello, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Eric Kandel, M.D.
Columbia University
Neuroscience
Chile
Carlos Blondel, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Matthew Waldor, M.D., Ph.D.
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Cell biology and pathogenesis
Diego Fernandez, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Samer Hattar, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University

Neuroscience
Marco Contreras, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Jean-Marc Fellous, Ph.D.
University of Arizona

Neurobiology and behavior
Diana Posadas, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Richard Carthew, Ph.D.
Northwestern University

Developmental and RNA biology
Andres Herrada, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Dario Vignali, Ph.D.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Immunology
Sabrina Sanchez, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Steve Kay, Ph.D.
University of Southern California

Genetic regulation and circadian rhythm

Ecuador
Sofía Ocaña, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Mario Grijalva, Ph.D.
Ohio University
Infectious disease
Brazil
Paulo José Teixeira, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Jeff Dangl, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Plant biology and pathogenesis

Mexico
V. Julian Valdes, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Elena Ezhkova, Ph.D.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Genetic regulation

For full biographies and information regarding the fellows' research, please visit http://directory.pewlatinfellows.org.

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The Pew Charitable Trusts (www.pewtrusts.org) is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public, and stimulate civic life. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations, and concerned citizens who share our commitment to fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.

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