Winter 2017

Research Star

Young postdoc named a Pew Latin American Fellow.

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Cecilia A. Silva-Valenzuela. Photo: Catalina Salinas Luypaert

Cecilia A. Silva-Valenzuela, Ph.D., has been selected as one of 10 Latin American Fellows in the Biomedical Sciences by the Pew Charitable Trusts. A postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, she will receive two years of funding to pursue research anywhere in the U.S.

Alumni of the Pew Latin American Fellows program, which supports young postdoctoral scientists from Central and South America, have gone on to garner some of the highest distinctions in Latin American science. Silva-Valenzuela, a native of Chile, will work in the laboratory of Andrew Camilli, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator who is a professor of molecular biology and microbiology at Tufts.

The Camilli lab investigates a way to use specialized viruses to stop the spread of cholera. These viruses, known as bacteriophages, have the ability to destroy the bacteria that cause cholera. In particular, the team aims to determine which types of these phages work best.

“If we can identify which bacteriophages are most adept at destroying the cholera bacteria in contaminated water, then we may be able to effectively prevent transmission to humans and avoid future cholera outbreaks,” says Silva-Valenzuela.

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