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News Article

3M Awards Mexican Female Health Scientists

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 06/09/2022 - 15:47

To highlight the role and participation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), 3M hosted the second edition of “25 Women in Science Latin America.” The event aims to recognize these female scientists who, through their work in STEM, are positively impacting the daily life of people and their communities. The event also aims to inspire more women and new generations of girls to pursue STEM careers.

Women make up only 28 percent of the workforce in STEM and men vastly outnumber them in most STEM fields in college, according to a study by The American Association of University Women (AAUW). The gender gap is particularly high in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering.

The study reveals that there are four factors that contribute to the perpetuation of STEM gaps. The first one is gender stereotypes as STEM fields are often viewed as masculine and teachers and parents often underestimate girls’ abilities in math starting as early as preschool. The second one is are male-dominated working cultures that “perpetuate inflexible, exclusionary, male-dominated cultures that are not supportive of or attractive to women and minorities,” says AAUW. The third is teachers who often grade girls harder for the same work and assume girls need to work harder.

The final factor identified by AAUW is the lack of female role models to look up to and inspire girl’s interest in these fields, as girls might see few examples of female scientists and engineers in books, media and popular culture. For that reason, 3M shared the stories of four Mexican women working in healthcare research.

Paola Castillo Juárez is a scientist working at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) and developed a biopharmaceutical from four peptides that proved to have an efficacy of over 90 percent against the replication of the SARS-CoV-2. This biopharmaceutical represents a viable alternative for the treatment of COVID-19.

Natalie Millán Aguinaga is a research professor of the Faculty of Marine Sciences (FCM) who studies DNA of bacteria extracted from marine sediments to search for potential anticancer compounds. Through the research project “Genomic mining of actinobacteria and their pharmacological potential”, she aims to shed light on the type of microorganisms that develop in the marine environment to find new antibiotic drugs in the long term.

Sandra Santuario is the current leader of the Molecular Biology laboratory at the TecSalud San José Hospital. She does molecular studies of breast cancer to find DNA changes that allow the prediction of cognitive deficit associated with chemotherapy. She is also a co-investigator who developed the project “Evaluation of a panel of genes associated with human behavior (cognitive deficit) in patients with breast cancer receiving chemotherapy.”

Blanca Nohemí Zamora works at Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí on the development and validation of a screening system for the prediction, classification and monitoring of lung damage in people who have suffered from COVID-19. Her current project "Development and evaluation of a screening system based on exhalation metabolism for the classification and prediction of long-term COVID-19 through automated learning methods" is being carried out in the Coordination for the Innovation and Application of Science and Technology (Ciacyt).

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst