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Por: Jordan Puckett Ramírez

Jenny Telleria

Dra. Jenny Tellería

Jenny Tellería supo que quería ser científica desde que los vio representados por primera vez en dibujos animados con el cabello quemado después de intentar un experimento.  Desde entonces, esta destacada científica boliviana ha recorrido un largo camino hasta su investigación actual: la enfermedad de Chagas, que aunque a menudo ignorada, puede ser mortal y afecta a gran parte de América Latina, incluido su país de origen.

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Fig 1. Solanum mammosum (L.) botanical voucher.

 

Pilaquinga F, Morejón B, Ganchala D, Morey J, Piña N, Debut A, Neira M. (2019) Green synthesis of silver nanoparticles using Solanum mammosum L. (Solanaceae) fruit extract and their larvicidal activity against Aedes aegypti L. (Diptera: Culicidae). PLoS ONE 14(10): e0224109

This article is the result of a multi-disciplinary collaboration between PUCE's Nanotechnology Laboratory, the Center for Research on Health in Latin America (CISeAL), Spain's University of the Balearic Islands and the Center for Nanosciences and Natotechnology at the Ecuadorian Armed Forces University (ESPE). In the manuscript, authors Ma. Fernanda Pilaquinga, Bianca Morejón et al. detail the preparation and characterization of silver nanoparticles synthetized using a "green chemistry" method that uses an extract obtained from the fruits of Solanum mammosum (a plant native to the andean and coastal areas of Ecuador), as well as the evaluation of said particle's insecticidal activity against the mosquito Aedes aegypti, the main vector of diseases such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya around the world.

The results presented show that both the pure S. mammosum extract and the nanoparticles coated with said extract exhibited measurable insecticidal activity. However, the nanoparticles (which were prepared using an easy, cheap and environmentally friendly method) presented an increase in efficiency of approximately 25,000 fold compared to the extract alone.

These results suggest that both S. mammosum and the nanoparticles coated with its extract have the potential to be developed as novel control tools against one the most important species of insect vector of human disease, and possibly against other insect species of major medical and economic relevance.

Read the full article:  https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0224109#pone-0224109-g005

By: Jordan Puckett Ramírez

It has been 26 years since the United Nations first declared today, October 17th, as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Those living in poverty are at the center of this commemoration.  It is important to take this opportunity to listen to those living and fighting against poverty as part of their daily lives. Over 700 million people still live in extreme poverty.  That is 10% of the world’s population.  Poverty also disproportionally affects children, with 1 in 5 living in extreme poverty.  The UN has set an ambitious goal to eradicate extreme poverty in its entirety by 2030.  

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"One of the keys to ending child poverty is addressing poverty in the household, from which it often stems”- UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Ohio University

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A parasite, largely thought to be asexual, has been shown to reproduce sexually after scientists uncover clues hidden in its genomic code.

Trypanosoma cruzi is the parasite responsible for Chagas Disease, found in Latin America. Around eight million people are currently infected by the disease, which can cause irreversible damage to the heart and digestive tract. 


Chagas disease is mostly spread by insects known as Triatominae, or "kissing bugs", but can also be transmitted by food contaminated with T. cruzi. While some medication can cure patients if given early enough, once the disease is established it is less effective.