Women Scientists: 5 Latin Americans Awarded for their Work in Health

A jury made up of academics, leaders, and specialists from scientific industries evaluated 1,700 projects by women scientists to select the 25 most outstanding, this being a way of exalting and vindicating the critical role they play in society.

Dominique Santos Rubenich, Diana Acevedo

Photos: LinkedIn, DosMundos

LatinAmerican Post | Julián Andrés Pastrana Cuéllar

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Leer en español: Científicas mujeres: 5 latinoamericanas premiadas por su trabajo en la salud

For the third consecutive year, the American company 3M has prepared the list of the 25 most outstanding Latin American women for their work in the areas of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Among more than a thousand applications, 3M chose women scientists who, through different projects, are making a more outstanding contribution to raising their communities' quality and living conditions. On this occasion, we will highlight those that have championed initiatives with a social impact on medicine and health. They are four Brazilian and Colombian scientists who work to improve the quality of life and well-being of many.

Leading Female Scientists from Brazil

Dominique Santos Rubenich, a Biomedician trained at the Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre, promotes software that relies on artificial intelligence to "identify the morphological plasticity of immune cells from cancer patients and its relationship with the progression of the disease tumor" as reported by 3M on its website. From there, the aim is to carry out cheaper and more accessible tests that help in the early detection of this condition and consolidate new sources of prognosis.

For her part, Patricia Severino, professor at the Tiradentes University (Unit) and researcher at the Institute of Technology and Research (ITP), is the champion of a project that aims to immediately alleviate pain, accelerate healing and reduce the antimicrobial activity associated with chronically infected wounds. The previous utilized a "polymeric bilayer dressing with rapid anesthetic and controlled release."

A patented technology to purify the air in such a way that, as a side effect, the reduction or total eradication of symptoms related to respiratory disorders such as flu, COVID-19, sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia is achieved was the project that allowed Valeria Vidal de Oliveira to be part of the list prepared by 3M. Vidal de Oliveira is a Sanitary and Environmental Engineering graduate from the Federal University of Santa Catarina and has master's and doctoral studies at that same alma mater.

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Outstanding Women Scientists from Colombia

Colombian Diana Acevedo, who today works as a postdoctoral research associate at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, has stood out for her project consisting of identifying how much the tumor microenvironment affects "the progression and resistance to pediatric cancer treatments, in neuroblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma." Neuroblastoma is considered the most common extracranial solid tumor in children, so the long-term goal of this project is to save the lives of minors affected by this condition. Likewise, this scientist tells, in the book published by 3M, how she has had to fight against discrimination for being Latina. In this sense, it has also dedicated itself to promoting that students with low resources or belonging to minorities can access scientific careers.

Lastly, 3M highlights the work of Lizeth Pedraza Correa, a Colombian scientist who is an expert in the field of neuroscience, whose project focuses on brain neuromodulation and Artificial Intelligence to delimit those markers that help predict and treat depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other psychopathologies.

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