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Chilean Science Climbs Toward Critical Mass

Pew Latin American fellow Leandro Carreño has a long-term goal of improving the research landscape in his home country of Chile. As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Steven Porcelli at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, he is investigating the role that immune cells play in allergic diseases such as asthma. His work could lead to new treatments for the respiratory tract inflammation resulting from that immune response. Carreño, one of 42 Latin American fellows from Chile, has plans to return and establish his own immunology and allergy laboratory at the end of his fellowship.

The state of science in South America was the focus of the June 12, 2014, issue of Nature, as economic expansion on the continent has led to “a significant rise in scientific output over the past two decades.” Chile leads the region in the number of patents granted, according to Nature, suggesting greater investment from the country’s private sector. Yet, barriers to the growth of its research community remain. Scientists comprise less than 0.1 percent of the Chilean workforce, and not even 0.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product is spent on research and development. The journal’s special issue touted the Pew fellowship for supporting talented Latin American scientists in their training and helping them become leaders in their countries of origin.

Quick facts

  • Named a Pew Latin American fellow in 2012.
  • Postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Steven Porcelli at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
  • Investigates the role of immune cells in allergic diseases such as asthma.
  • Earned an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.
  • Earned a doctoral degree in immunology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.
  • Intends to begin work as an assistant professor at the University of Chile following completion of his postdoctoral studies.

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