Del Hierro’s home country of Ecuador produces 4,139,512 tons of waste each year. Leading a team of researchers, she’s developed a plan to capitalize on the potential of nature to close the nutrient cycle and turn the problem of excess waste into an opportunity—one insect at a time.
As a biologist and then a biochemist/neuroscientist, de Lima has spent years exploring the potential of biodiversity, specifically animal venoms, selecting and studying biomolecules as models for new drugs. Through her extensive research, the professor has identified how a toxin from the Brazilian wandering spider has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
In an effort to help curb the influx of plastics overflowing in landfills and polluting our oceans, Guimarães Martins hopes to develop and commercialize new biodegradable materials. Using food waste such as chicken feathers, beans and starches, the Brazilian professor has developed a food packaging product that’s entirely biodegradable. What’s more, this innovative packaging may even extend the shelf life of foods.
Diabetes is a rapidly expanding health problem in Brazil and throughout the world. Without regular monitoring, the chronic disease often comes with high cost and high mortality. To help reverse this trend, Teixeira Sousa used artificial intelligence to develop an app that can help identify diabetic patients most at-risk for developing serious complications.
Committed to advancing scientific developments in his home country, Obregón Valencia was inspired by a plant he first encountered in the Peruvian jungle. Thanks to the work he and other researchers are pursuing, the moriche palm fruit may one day play a vital role in producing activated carbon, which can, in turn, be used in water purification processes throughout Peru.