Pew Funds 10 Latin American Scientists Pursuing Biomedical Research

PHILADELPHIA – The Pew Charitable Trusts today announced the 2023 class members of the Pew Latin American Fellows Program in the Biomedical Sciences.

These 10 postdoctoral fellows from seven Latin American countries—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay—will receive two years of funding to conduct research in laboratories throughout the United States. The fellows will work under the mentorship of prominent biomedical scientists, including an alum of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences.

“Scientific exchange across countries and backgrounds is critical to making groundbreaking discoveries,” said Susan K. Urahn, Pew’s president and CEO. “That’s why Pew is pleased to support such an impressive cohort from Latin America who will continue this legacy of advancing global biomedical science.”

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

Scientists in the 2023 class will explore a range of research interests, including whether diet-induced inflammation could lead to childhood obesity, how exposure to toxins and other stimuli reprogram stem cells, and what biological mechanisms contribute to the development of cancer and cancer-related disorders.

“This year’s class brings together a community of Latin American scientists with outstanding talent,” said Eva Nogales, Ph.D., distinguished professor in the division of biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and chair of the program’s national advisory committee. “Their research interests, coupled with the training they’ll receive in leading U.S. labs, will help break new ground in improving human health around the world.”

The 2023 Pew Latin American fellows and their U.S. mentors are:

Anai Campos Contreras, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Thomas F. Martínez, Ph.D.
University of California, Irvine
Anai Campos Contreras, Ph.D., will study microproteins present in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, one of the deadliest cancers.

Matías Fabregat, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Andrea Galmozzi, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Matías Fabregat, Ph.D., will investigate how cancer cells induce cachexia—severe weight loss with muscle and fat wasting.

Ayelen Lizarraga, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Sebastian Pott, Ph.D.
University of Chicago
Ayelen Lizarraga, Ph.D., will unravel how exposure to toxins, allergens, and other environmental stimuli reprogram stem cells that reside in different tissues.

María Belén Machin, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Raul Mostoslavsky, M.D., Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
María Belén Machin, Ph.D., will explore the unique metabolic features of metastatic cancer cells.

Daniel Núñez-León, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Cheng-Ming Chuong, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Southern California
Daniel Núñez-León, Ph.D., will investigate how different birds produce distinctive and varied facial features, which can lead to understanding craniofacial conditions in people.

Enrique Olguín-Martínez, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Jorge Henao-Mejia, M.D., Ph.D., 2017 Pew biomedical scholar
University of Pennsylvania
Enrique Olguín-Martínez, Ph.D., will explore how diet-induced inflammation promotes childhood obesity.

Luiza de Oliveira Saad, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Peter Reddien, Ph.D.
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Luiza de Oliveira Saad, Ph.D., will explore the mechanisms that guide regeneration in a shell-less mollusk called a nudibranch.

Rebeca de Paiva Fróes Rocha, Ph.D.
Laboratories of Michael Rosenblum, M.D., Ph.D., and Amar Nijagal, M.D.
University of California, San Francisco
Rebeca de Paiva Fróes Rocha, Ph.D., will explore the role that immune cells play in promoting the development of pediatric liver cancer.

Leda Restrepo, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Elena Gallo MacFarlane, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University
Leda Restrepo, Ph.D., will assess how changes in the activity of a gene regulator called MEG3 contributes to the risk of aortic aneurysms.

Mario Alberto Ynga Durand, M.D., Ph.D.
Laboratory of Marc E. Rothenberg, M.D., Ph.D.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Mario Alberto Ynga Durand, M.D., Ph.D., will explore how immune-cell infiltration leads to eosinophilic esophagitis.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. Pew addresses the challenges of a changing world by illuminating issues, creating common ground, and advancing ambitious projects that lead to tangible progress.

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