Philadelphia, PA and Cold Spring Harbor, NY — The Pew Charitable Trusts today announced the newest class of Pew Latin American Fellows in the Biomedical Sciences. Daniel Rodríguez-Leal, Ph.D., a postdoctoral investigator in the laboratory of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Associate Professor Zachary Lippman, is among the 10 awardees for 2016.
Dr. Rodríguez-Leal, a native of Sinaloa, Mexico, and the other nine fellows 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, in Dr. Rodríguez-Leal’s case, unraveling the gene networks that control plant growth.
“The entire faculty of CSHL joins me in congratulating Dr. Daniel Rodríguez-Leal for being named a Pew Latin American Fellow,” said Professor David Spector, Ph.D., CSHL’s Director of Research. “Daniel is engaged in basic research involving the relationship between stem cells and plant yield that has potentially vital applications in efforts of agriculturalists to feed a growing global population.”
Dr. Rodríguez-Leal received a doctorate in plant biotechnology in 2015 from the National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity, a unit of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico, working with Dr. Jean-Philippe Vielle-Calzada.
His work in the Lippman lab specifically focuses on dissecting a molecular pathway involved in stem cell maintenance. He will perform comparative studies in two distantly related plant species and characterize how manipulating the activity of individual components of the pathway influences the stability and activity of the stem cell population. This work could lead to new molecular tools for controlling plant growth and improving crop yield.
“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.
About the Pew Latin American Fellows 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. Visit the program page to read the Pew Fellows’ full abstracts and learn more about the program. The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Learn more at www.pewtrusts.org.
About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit www.cshl.edu