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Pew names 10 top Latin American scientists as fellows

June 09, 2016

PHILADELPHIA -- The Pew Charitable Trusts today announced the newest class of Pew Latin American Fellows in the Biomedical Sciences.

Ten innovative postdoctoral scientists from Latin America will receive two years of funding to pursue research at laboratories and academic institutions in the United States. The fellows hail from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico, and their research interests range from studying the neurobiology of taste to unraveling the gene networks that control plant growth.

The Latin American fellows will conduct their work under the mentorship and guidance of some of the United States' most distinguished researchers in biomedical science, including alumni of the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences program.

"Pew's Latin American fellows program grew from a desire many of our Pew scholars expressed for greater opportunities to exchange knowledge and collaborate across borders," said Rebecca W. Rimel, Pew's president and CEO. "The individuals selected today are just embarking on exciting careers that will expand frontiers in biomedical science, and joining a network of scientists whose work has the potential to improve human health and well-being around the world."

A central component of the program is an additional award given to fellows who return to Latin America after their time in the United States and establish independent research labs. About 70 percent of past fellows have taken advantage of that opportunity and are using their training in the U.S. to help build much-needed infrastructure for scientific exploration in the region.

"For 25 years, this program has been able to identify the most talented graduate students in Latin America and provide them with opportunities for advanced training in outstanding laboratories in the United States," said Torsten N. Wiesel, M.D., the 1981 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine, and chair of the program's national advisory committee. "Many fellows have gone on to leadership positions at Latin American universities and research institutes, where they are inspiring and nurturing new generations of biomedical researchers."

The 2016 Pew Latin American fellows and their U.S. mentors are:

Rodrigo A. Aguilar, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Jeannie T. Lee, M.D., Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Molecular Biology

Vinicius de Andrade-Oliveira, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Yasmine Belkaid, Ph.D.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health

José A. Cánovas, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Charles Zuker, Ph.D.
Columbia University

Daiana A. Capdevila, Ph.D.
Laboratory of David P. Giedroc, Ph.D.
Indiana University

Silvina A. del Carmen, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Carla V. Rothlin, Ph.D.
Yale University

Ileana Licona, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Ruslan Medzhitov, Ph.D.
Yale University

Guilherme A. P. de Oliveira, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Edward H. Egelman, Ph.D.
University of Virginia
Structural Biology

Priscilla C. Olsen, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Michel C. Nussenzweig, M.D., Ph.D.
The Rockefeller University

Daniel Rodríguez-Leal, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Zachary B. Lippman, Ph.D.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Molecular biology; genetics

Cecilia A. Silva-Valenzuela, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Andrew Camilli, Ph.D.
Tufts University School of Medicine
Molecular biology; microbiology

Visit the program page to read the fellows' full abstracts and learn more about the program.
The Latin American fellows program, launched in 1990, is part of Pew's strategy to invest in young scientists who are exploring questions fundamental to advancing human health. New classes of the Pew-Stewart Scholars for Cancer Research and the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences were also announced today.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Learn more at

Pew Charitable Trusts

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