Pew Supports 10 Latin American Scientists Pursuing Biomedical Research

Pew Supports 10 Latin American Scientists Pursuing Biomedical Research

PHILADELPHIA – The Pew Charitable Trusts today announced the 2022 class members of the Pew Latin American Fellows Program in the Biomedical Sciences.

The 10 postdoctoral fellows from five Latin American countries—Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Brazil—will receive two years of funding to conduct research in laboratories across the United States. The fellows will work under the mentorship of prominent biomedical scientists, including alumni of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences, the Pew-Stewart Scholars Program for Cancer Research, and the Pew Latin American Fellows Program.

“Biomedical research is a global effort requiring an imaginative, diverse community of scientists,” said Susan K. Urahn, Pew’s president and CEO. “Pew is proud to welcome such an innovative cohort from Latin America, whose work will explore new horizons in health and medicine.”

Fellows who choose to return to Latin America to launch their own research labs will receive additional funding from Pew. Approximately 70% of participants have pursued this path, which has helped support a more robust biomedical research community in Latin America.

Scientists in the 2022 class will explore a range of research topics, including how bacteria form resistance to RNA-targeting antibiotics, how certain chemical reactions help babies recognize their mothers, and how changes to DNA maintenance can give rise to acute myeloid leukemia.

“The 2022 class brings together a rich community of young scientists at the top of their fields,” said Eva Nogales, Ph.D., distinguished professor in the department of biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and chair of the program’s national advisory committee. “Through their research in foremost U.S. labs, these fellows will build on the tools needed to lead the next generation of biomedical discovery both in the U.S. and in Latin America.”

The 2022 Pew Latin American fellows and their U.S. mentors are:

Anibal Arce, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Julius Lucks, Ph.D.
Northwestern University
Dr. Arce will explore the potential of RNAs called “riboswitches” as targets for a new class of antibiotics.

Noe Baruch Torres, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Y. Whitney Yin, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Dr. Baruch Torres will study the human mitochondrial replisome, a specialized protein complex machinery that cells use to copy the DNA found in their mitochondria.

Hector Cuello, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Ajit Varki, M.D.
University of California, San Diego
Dr. Cuello will investigate the role that a receptor protein called Siglec-XII plays in the progression of cancer.

Mabel Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Lauren O’Connell, Ph.D., 2020 Pew biomedical scholar
Stanford University
Dr. Gonzalez will study the chemical interactions that allow babies to recognize their mothers.

Krystal Maya-Maldonado, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Nichole Broderick, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Maya-Maldonado will explore how parents can transmit an “immune memory” of past infections to future generations.

Vinicius Miessler de Andrade Carvalho, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Nirao Shah, Ph.D.
Stanford University
Dr. Andrade Carvalho will dissect the neural circuit that allows sex recognition in animals, information that underscores their subsequent social interactions.

Francisco Saavedra Cantillana, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Thelma Escobar, Ph.D.
University of Washington
Dr. Saavedra Cantillana will study the changes in chromatin landscape that lead to leukemia.

John James Tello Cajiao, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Jorge Henao-Mejia, M.D., Ph.D., 2017 Pew biomedical scholar
University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Tello Cajiao will develop analytical tools for dissecting how the spatial organization of DNA regulates the activity of genes.

Sergio Heli Triana Sierra, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Alex Shalek, Ph.D., 2018 Pew-Stewart scholar, and Pardis Sabeti, M.D., Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Triana Sierra will develop tools for studying viral hemorrhagic fevers in areas where these diseases are endemic.

Maritere Urióstegui-Arcos, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Ana Fiszbein, Ph.D., 2017 Pew Latin American fellow
Boston University
Dr. Urióstegui-Arcos will explore how the DNA sequences that control a gene’s activity also influence which RNA variants the gene will produce.

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