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Ecuadorian wins biotechnology contest in the United Kingdom

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The Ecuadorian Belén Sotomayor Burneo reached first place at GapSummit 2022an event that brought together a hundred experts, scientists and new leaders in biotechnology at Cambridge University, in the United Kingdom.

At the event, organized by the entity Global Biotech Revolution, solutions to problems related to sustainable biotechnological development were proposed.

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The team led by Sotomayor stood out with its proposal, called ALLVAX, which consists of creating a platform to produce vaccines at low cost.

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The contest had a pre-selection round, in which the six teams with the best proposals were chosen, who participated in the final and had to defend their idea before an evaluating jury made up of prominent business leaders in the pharmaceutical field.

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“It fills me with pride to be the first Latin American woman to have achieved this recognition. This type of achievement is a sign that the young people of the region have a lot of potential to propose innovative solutions to problems facing the world today”, said Sotomayor, who is a graduate of the Chemical Engineering career at the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL)

Sotomayor pointed out that, on a global scale, there are a large number of diseases that have a high incidence in the population. “In many cases, control strategies require the use of vaccines; however, there are limitations that make it difficult to access these compounds, especially in developing countries, due to aspects related to logistics (cold chain) and production (high costs) ”, he mentioned.

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For this reason, Sotomayor and her team proposed to develop powdered vaccines at a low cost with technology call-free.

With this initiative, Sotomayor explained that the production of vaccines approved by the main public health control agencies, such as the FDA or the EMA, would be facilitated.

As part of the prize, the team led by Sotomayor will receive funding of 10,000 pounds sterling (about $11,000), to start implementing their proposal. In addition, they will access training to present their idea to business incubators and accelerators, with whom it is hoped that this proposal will become a reality.

Sotomayor’s team was mentored by Dr. Hannah McEwen, head of Engineering Sciences at the multinational Johnson & Johnson. Also taking part were Miroslav Gasparek, doctoral student at the University of Oxford (England), who conducts research in Synthetic Biology; and Kai-Wen Karen Yang, a master’s student at Johns Hopkins University (United States), who develops research focused on Biomedical Engineering and Data Science.

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Meanwhile, Sotomayor is pursuing a doctorate in Biotechnology at Cornell University (United States) and, in addition to her academic activitiesis part of various organizations that encourage women to join careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, for its acronym in English).

Its work consists of informing about the opportunities offered by these careers, coordinating professional relationship events and developing training to support this population group. (YO)

Source: Eluniverso

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