Pew Latin American Fellow Profiled in Nature
Pew Latin American fellow Juan David Ramírez Gonzalez was featured in Nature’s career column, “Turning Point,” in the Oct. 2 issue. In the profile, Ramirez Gonzalez describes how his 2014 Pew award allows him to conduct research on parasitic diseases and will position him to return to Colombia, where such infections are endemic.
As a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Michael Grigg at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Ramírez Gonzalez is investigating how the exchange of genetic information between two different parasites can precipitate the outbreak of disease.
Ramírez Gonzales told Nature about his youth in Colombia and how it influenced the direction of his research.
“Many people in my family had malaria. One had Chagas’ disease. I became really interested in infectious diseases, particularly those caused by parasites,” he said.
After his postdoctoral training concludes, he intends to return to his country to establish his own molecular parasitology laboratory. Although resources for researchers in Colombia are scarce in comparison with the technology and opportunities available in the U.S., Ramírez Gonzalez says the support he receives from Pew will help him to turn the tide.
“I want to help Colombian science to be better appreciated and to do good work that will help to persuade the government to invest more in science,” he said. “I want to do work that has an impact on the health of my country.”
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