Andres Kamaid, Leonel Malacrida, and Mariana De Niz

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Welcome to the Microscopists,

a bite-sized bio podcast hosted by Peter Oto,

sponsored by Zeiss Microscopy. Today on the Microscopists,

Welcome to the Microscopist. Now,

this is a very special edition focus on Latin American bioimaging,

where the Latin community have come together. Now, this focuses Mariana Deez.

Yeah, I've been doing microscopy for,

for a long time now in the context of parasitic diseases,

which I know is very big in York, uh, by the way. And, uh,

and I also do outreach,

so I'm quite passionate about scientific communication and,

and the whole idea of, you know, democratizing science. And that includes,

um, you know, showcasing and, and, uh,

talking about the work that is done all over the world.

Leonardo Maita,

I am the head of the VA Value Machine Unit.

This is a showing initiative between the University of Laika,

where I own my associate professor position,

and as well as the Indu Pastor Montevideo,

who is part of the Indu past Network. And since 2020, we,

we launched this initiative here, u wide, trying to bring, uh,

some new initiatives, some new technology for the country,

but also for the region. And I have been involved since, uh,

the foundation of Latin American Bio Machine, uh, also in 2020.

And Andress Kade.

I always do some kind of disclaimer among this crowd saying that I am not a

microscopist, but I, I actually,

I'm beginning to understand that I actually am in a way. Uh,

I used microscopy for a long time for tackling my, my questions,

biological questions. And I found that it's, uh,

the, the technology or the way to approach this,

that I love the most

All in this episode of The Microscopists.

Hi, welcome to this episode of The Microscopist.

I'm Peter at from University of New York,

and today I'm joined by three special guests. So I'm joined by Mariana Deniz,

Leona Andre Ade. So actually, I'm gonna get you to introduce yourselves first.

That's a lot better than me doing it. So I'm gonna start actually with Mariana,

would like to introduce yourself.

Sure, yeah. Um, so I'm, yeah, Ariana, I'm, I'm from Mexico,

and I'm currently working in Chicago at Northwestern University,

at the F School of Medicine. I'm a member of the,

of the Center for Advanced Microscopy. And before that, I did, uh,

my postdocs in France, in, in Portugal, and in,

uh, the UK mixed with the us. Uh, and yeah,

I've been doing microscopy for,

for a long time now in the context of parasitic diseases,

which I know is very big in York, uh, by the way. And, um,

and I also do outreach,

so I'm quite passionate about scientific communication and,

and the whole idea of, you know, democratizing science. And that includes,

um, you know, showcasing and, and, uh,

talking about the work that is done all over the world regarding science.

No, thank you. That was beautiful. That was quite,

that was really nice and succinct, by the way. It's, and quite,

quite nomadic to have gone to so many places. Uh, I'll, I'll come to Lion next.

I'll go around My screen. Screen doesn't help those listening, but in my screen,

this makes sense. Lno.

Hi Peter. Thank you for invitation. Well, I'm l Malta. I'm from,

uh, I am the head of the Advanced Value Machine Unit.

This is a showing initiative between the university Laika,

where I own my associate professor position,

and as well as the Indu past Montevideo,

who is part of the Indu past network. And since 2020, we,

we launched this initiative here, trying to bring, uh, some new initiatives,

some new technology for the country, but also for the region.

And I has been involved since, uh,

the foundation of Latin American Bio machine, uh, also in 2020.

And I, I am a microscopy and I usually,

I like to say that I'm more an spectroscopy doing imaging than a microscopy,

but, uh, yes, I can call myself a microscopy.

Uh, but you're using the microscopy for your spectroscopy, so you're a mic. Yes.

Any spectro metric microscopist. I dunno what,

what the best word would be. Um, Andre, I'd like to introduce yourself, please.

Hi. Thank you, Peter. Uh, thank you for the invitation as well.

My name is Andres Kamai. I am, uh,

I was born in Uruguay and raised here,

studied biology for some time and specialized in neurobiology.

So I have to,

I always do some kind of disclaimer among this crowd saying that I am not a

microscopist, but I, I actually,

I'm beginning to understand that I actually am in a way. Uh,

I use microscopy for a long time for tackling my, my questions,

biological questions. And I found that it's, uh, the, uh,

the technology or the way to approach this that I love the most.

Uh, so it have, it has captivated my, my passion for, for a long time.

And so I was, I, I was trained as a neurobiologist. And then,

uh, I moved to this United States, uh,

all several times for, for studying my master degree,

then come back to Uruguay,

then move to Europe in Barcelona to do my PhD,

where I, I, uh, switch to developmental biology. I mean,

starting to under the same question, biological questions,

but in a different perspective of neurobiology.

And then I moved to Mexico to work as a research,

uh, uh,

assistant in the unam in this university national, the Mexico.

And, um, and in that time I met John Malta and,

and Chris Wood in Mexico as well. And, uh, well, we're gonna talk a bit,

I guess, about the foundation of lobby, but, um,

it was then that I, I started to work very actively in something,

uh, that I would, I would call outreach in a way,

but also build community that I think it's one of the topics that we're gonna

be dealing with here. So, um, and I met Jonelle,

and then since then I joined the institute, Pastori Montevideo.

And we've been working together for a few years, and here we are.

So you've all been quite nomadic in going around different countries and,

and different continents, even. Uh,

and you've seen different facilities,

how the infrastructures work to support science,

that it's interesting that early Mariana would actually say she's a hardcore


and two of you are being converted to microscopist or becoming

comfortable in your skin that you're now microscopist. Uh,

it, it, so Latin America bio imaging, uh, lab,

lab lab, lab lab. So we

Call lab

Lab. So why, why lab?

Why Latin America Bioimaging, why not American bioimaging,

America's bio imaging. Why Latin America? Bioimaging,

who'd like to take that answer?


Go, Andre, go on.

I I can, I can take that one. Since, uh, uh, I think we,

I was in the very beginning of how this started, and, um,

and you know very well that it, something called, uh,

global Bioimaging exists, uh, for some time.

And, uh, no Bioimaging North America also exists. And, um,

so when I met, I met Chris Wood some years ago, and, uh,

he talked me about this. I didn't know actually, to, to be honest. Uh,

as I said, I was more focused. I mean, I was using microscopy,

but I was not considering myself something that, that was my focus of research.

So, um, talking with Chris, he talked, he talked me about that, and I said, wow,

that's interesting. And how, why is I asked the same question?

Is there a la Latin American bioimaging? Because I knew, uh,

other imaging societies like, um,

the Micro Society of Microscopy of some country or the inter-American,

uh, Federation of microscopy societies or things like that.

So, uh, we started, we, we,

and with the people of global Bioimaging, they become very interested in having,

uh, uh, bioimaging Latin, Latin America, or Latin American bioimaging,

something that could bring together the people that shares

a lot of things in common. We share a lot of things with all the world,

especially talking about microscopy. But in terms of cultural, uh, identity,

I think there is something quite unique to Latin Americans. Um,

and that's why that's, that's my perspective.

I don't know if you guys want to add something else about that.

I, I, yeah, Le go on.

So, CHAA, if I can add, when we start this discussion with, with, and Andreas,

and, and with both with, um, uh, Chris Christopher Wood, uh, um,

we, we, we understood that was an,

there was a need that was not filled by the academic society, right?

The academic societies that were related to microscopy in Latin America,

as well as in other parts in the world,

were focused on the scientific aspect of the microscopy, right?

In the developing of new technologies, in the application of the micro.

And as soon as we touched, or this, uh,

interest of the global bio machine as well, of aero bio imaging and others,

we identified that we lack of these kind of initiatives in the region that can

support not only the academic side, but also the, uh, you know,

uh, broaden the opportunities, expanding the capabilities, and, you know,

supporting the, uh,

recognition and the career for many microscopies that are not

strictly speaking scientists, uh, on, on, on different ways of, you know,

uh, evaluation or analysis that we have. Right.

So it's interesting, uh,

just you talk about the academic societies and the academic meetings,

which are very, uh, scientific question led.

So would you argue that there,

for the delivery of microscopy and the support of the delivery of

microscopy across Latin, Latin America,

would you say that's what your main aim is, is to support that as a whole?

Yeah. Yeah. I think I, lemme tell you something that,

that I think it's very interesting in, and it has to be with how we,

we become like a new organization besides the ones that we already had

when we started talking about this, uh,

this was all like kind of catalyzed by a corporation project

that we can talk about later, uh, between Mexico and Yuba. And, um,

and one of the, and we had this idea,

but one of the things that we all agreed is that we need to,

to see if this something that we really need in the region. And, and I partic,

I personally traveled to the I S M meeting, which is a,

a meeting of, uh,

the biggest meeting in microscopy in our region that brings together also the

North American, uh, societies of microscopy and Canadian.

And we presented the idea of lobby in,

in the general assembly of C S M and say, uh,

I was invited by by the people of C C SS M to say, okay,

bring this idea. And, and we, we'll, we'll talk about that.

And there was a very good reception of the people in that assembly

saying, okay, yes,

this is something different that is dealing with other aspects that we are not,

and that it would be very good to have in the region. Uh,

I dunno if you, if that kind of answers your, your, your question.

No, no, it does. And I'd say, so

why, why, why not make it Muay or, uh, New Mexico?

Could you tell to us, Mexico and Uruguay to start with? Why go so big?

Start with,

Well, I think, I think we realized from the very beginning, and, and,

and this is something that also relates of how, uh,

we are approaching this, uh,

we realized that we need to, uh, when,

when we proposed this cooperate national binational cooperation project,

we said, uh,

one of the main goals was to expand this to the whole region because

we believe, we strongly believe to all of that, uh,

that we need that to really improve corporate, uh,

capacities in the whole region.

There's not one single country or two countries that are gonna be able

to develop capacities in imaging alone, right? And,

uh, there's so many, uh, good science,

so much good science going on around us and very close to us that we need to

try to bring together that people. Okay, so, and mm-hmm. Yeah.

I, I, I'm gonna, Marianne you've traveled around Europe,

America, Africa as well,


Well, that'll be interesting. So in, you know, if you go to the uk,

UK's pretty well kitted out now. It's well networked. Yes. You know,

we've got the raw microscopic society, we've got Biogen uk,

we've got the network, we've got lots of equipment, so,

so we can facilitate and do lots at the moment. Marianne,

you've been to different European countries and,

and I presume each country's had similar capabilities. You,

in America and Andreas,

you've been over to the states similar equipment then.

Is it not the same

Back in Latin America?

I think, if I can, so I, I, I left, uh,

Mexico when I was about 15 or 16 years old. So it's been, it's been a while.

But what I think is different in a way,

and that's something that in the focal plane interviews that we've been doing

all of us together, is, um,

so going back to your question on Latin Americans,

I think we have things that unite us in many ways. We have very similar history.

We share languages. Uh, there's a cultural identity.

Every country's different, but there's a lot that we share.

But one of those things is the big brain drain, if you want to call it. So,

so many Latin Americans going abroad because there's, you know,

more resources, less bureaucracies, it's easier to do research, et cetera.

But this also my feeling, my own and within the interviews is we don't,

so there might be capacities and there's a tendency to try

and collaborate, or for,

for many years there's been a tendency to try and collaborate with the global

north. Like you, you wouldn't even know, like, oh,

they really have a whatever cryo in Brazil. I didn't know that.

And I went to my collaboration in, in France.

So this is something, I think there's a, uh,

it's for multiple reasons, but one of them is lack of awareness of their,

the expertise exists in the region.

And I see that's where it's different. So within Europe,

which is where I did most of my career,

there was this knowledge and this acceptance as well. Like,

we have a cryo-em in whatever, I don't know, in France. And, uh,

and the people there have the expertise to support it, right? So I think,

um, both of these things are, are relevant to, to,

or what, what needs to be built up in Latin America,

that we know that the experts are there,

that we trust this expertise and that we, uh,

foster these collaborations in the region. That's my opinion. But, uh,

I'm sure Leonne and, and there is no more about this.

Yeah, agree. I second

Of course, of course. I agree. And, uh, I want to to say that you, you,

I think you, um, you pointed to a,

to something that at least I saw very different in Latin America compared to

Europe or the US especially with,

with Europe where you have networking and

networks actually working really well. Uh,

that doesn't happen in, uh, in any, I personally experience in Mexico,

for instance, uh, that the disparities that exist and,

uh, between different parts of the same country, uh, are huge.

People do not even know in the same city what they're doing next to each other

or, so. It is very often what Mariana just said,

that people collaborate with, uh,

the global north, let's call it where,

because usually in Latin America,

you go and do a postdoc out either in the US or Europe or uh,

Japan or a developed country, right? And you establish connections with that,

and those connections become more stronger than the ones that,

that you establish with your neighbors.

And this is actually one of the main points why we try to,

uh, why we are building this, uh,

to foster that connections among Latin American scientists

and also to, to do it in a different perspective. I mean,

when you think about scientific societies,

there is a kind of competitive, uh, aspect in, in,

in science is competitive in many ways. And, and this is something that we,

we are trying to change in or to have in the,

in the very top of, of, of our heads is a,

this is lobby is a collaborative effort. It's not a competitive, so it's a,

it's completely different framework. You, we are not, uh, gaining anything.

We are not being paid for any of the things we are doing. Uh, so,

So, so, so what's in it for you? I was gonna ask this question later,

but you just said you're not being paid, you know, is there,

what's in it for you? Why are you all doing it?

I was gonna start with Leonard on this one. Why, why are you doing this?

Why are you involved? Why are you,

Well, for me, the answer was, it's, it's very simple and,

and very straight. It's because, uh, you know, after being sometime outside,

you know, and going back to, to my country, I really wanted to support,

you know,

the opportunity that I have outside the country that wasn't, you know,

available or, or open for many people in, in, in the country,

but also in the region. So in, in my perspective, it's very romantic.

So I, I, I wanted to come back, I wanted to come back and do things for,

for me and for others, of course. Uh, and, um,

but when you elaborate a little, a little bit more in the answer. Well,

I think the, the, the, the, the big important point is, you know, we,

we always, uh,

have chances to be better in better situation with better funding, with better,

uh, um, capabilities with, I don't know, et cetera, uh,

larger equipment, whatever. But my, my,

my my position to that is, you know,

we can build on what we have. And we, I,

and I truly believe what Mariana said before is there are

science and scientific people in, in, in Latin America,

which is really excellent and in,

and they have the chance to go outside and bright in different centers

across the globe. And then they come back.

And even with this limitation that we all know,

we still have great science, and we still have the opportunity to, uh,

approach and to, uh, you know, tackle problems who are for,

for or in Latin America, right?

And I think this is what really motivated me. Uh, I,

I really want to work in things who are involved in my everyday.

So I work in the clinical hospital as well as in my problems came from

the clinics.

So I'm trying to solve and develop things who are, you know,

problem that my colleagues in the hospital, uh, uh,

ask me to, to for help, you know, so this is my,

my moral answer to, to uter.

So would you say, if I'm gonna condense that right down,

that it's a sense of local national continental pride,

that you don't want go to Europe to work,

you don't wanna go into North America to work,

you wanna be in your home country and to help and develop.

Is that in a nutshell about the right thing?

Yeah. You keep the tender

And is that the same for you, Mariana?

Yeah. So that's a very good question. Um,

You're in Chicago at the moment, aren't

You? I'm in Chicago, yeah. So I, so

Why are you helping?

Because I will, I'm Latin, I'm Latin American. I have always, you know, been,

I will always consider myself Latin American and I love my country and, and,

and so on. So, uh, there are several things I wanted to add here. So one is,

um, and which is something that we want to work towards with lobby as well.

And I've been, you know, I'm, I'm starting to get more involved in that,

which is bringing, uh, I, I'm going to also, uh,

show the opinions of some of the people I've been interviewing, which is, uh,

recently I spoke to Carlos Bustamante.

So his interview should be coming out soon. And he was saying, you know,

it's not bad to want to remain abroad if that's what you want to do,

but I think we should, uh, take, you know, make the most out of that.

So we also cry and say, oh, the brain drain. But,

so he established a twin lab. He is, his lab is in Berkeley, I believe,

and he has a twin lab in Peru where this expertise is very easily breached.

And he was like, I don't understand why people are not doing it more,

and it's something I would love to do. So, but as I said, I left when I was 16.

I have like zero connections in Mexico when it comes to this,

but it's something I would love to do as well. So he, you know,

something we discussed him and I was the choice, right?

You choose to leave and this is fine,

but how do you pay back to your region if that's what you want to do?

It should be possible. Like, you are not, or you bailed out because you left.

Um, so this is in general, the other, uh,

person I will quote now also in general,

whom I was really touched when she said this, which is why I left at some point,

was, um, Veronica Eisner, who is from Chile.

And she said to me, so I was asking her like, why are you building, you know,

what's your motivation to build the, the,

the microscopy in your country? And she was like,

because being able to do good research in your own country is a privilege.

It's a privilege to be where your family is, where your friends are,

where you grew up. Like, we shouldn't need to go abroad. Like,

it's okay if you choose to,

but it shouldn't be a need for you to do good science. And I want to,

to build on that in my region and in my country. And so this is, you know,

I I, I agree with all of these and I think, you know, I,

I hope future generations don't have to make this choice where, I mean,

I have found it tough to be abroad. There are many, you know, it should be like,

yeah, I want to go on an adventure rather than I need to be there if I want to,

such and such, right? So that's one thing. Um, yeah,

that, um, yeah,

I can, I can I com compare. You dare,

dare I compare you to a footballer who will go overseas.

'cause the opportunities, the big games are, I, I I, I,

I know the soccer in Latin America's very big, but you know,

you still want to go to your real Madrids, your Barcelonas,

your Manchester United, definitely. Uh,

but I, I think the football players will go there,

but most of them will want to return home when their career ends.

And quite a lot of them set up foundations charities,

which is I guess a bit like the twin lab type philosophy.

'cause they give back to where they were brought up because they appreciate,

that's what gave them the opportunity to, to become that star footballer. And,

you know, your star scientists. Yeah. You know, and,

and just like a football player, you go around as a commodity using your skills,

moving up the ladder.

But one day you quite often want to go home or at least enable other people

there to develop where they're brought up. And I think Mariana,

I think that's what you just described yourself as, uh,

as Leonard Messi or someone.

No, I was not, I wasn't there. But, uh, the other thing is we don't, so first I,

first I didn't understand, uh, when I was interviewing, for example, in Uru, I,

everybody went back. Everybody I interviewed went back to Uruguay. I was like,

this is not what I heard in Brazil or in Mexico, right?

And then I started digging into, okay, what are the different realities?

And for example,

something that has come up in Mexico is just the level of violence in the

country, right? So this is, for example, one thing that keeps me away. Like,

I'm super happy being able to leave the lab here at 11 and reach home and be

sure that I'm going to reach home, uh, the level of violence,

especially against women as well in general, but to women.

So these choices are, are choices, right?

But it shouldn't be the access to,

to m all for democratic science.

I think we should all be able to access everything and do the science we want to

do. And as Veronica said, you know, when I interviewed her, I,

I almost cried when she said that. I was like,

I would love to be where my family is doing the work I love to do.

I, I, I think science without borders is really critical. Uh,

but the more we enable science be done locally, the better it will be as well.

Because I think that helps society in general. Uh, Andreas,

what, what, what about yourself? Uh,

what's your motivation?

I, I'm, I'm probably the only one that that can be, uh,

barely compared to a footballer because I, I came back when I was,

uh, kind of old and retired and with belly.

And this is what happens with footballers here.

They come back to Euro when they, when they cannot play more in, in the,

in the top leagues. And, and, uh, I know Lionelle, for instance, he was in, in,

in the best part of his career, um, being a,

in the top. And he decided to come back. I, and, and,

and it's interesting what Mariana said, and uh,

I think we talk about this with Janelle. I was here, I came, uh,

uh, a year before, no, a couple of years before he came back.

And we talked about while he was there, uh,

what's the best way to, to help? I mean, sometimes, and for me,

it was for a long time,

I spent almost 15 years abroad.

And most of the time I thought it, I was helping my country, uh,

better being abroad than, than where I was at that time.


it took me some time to realize that I can now be doing something

as I expected to, to, to be changing the reality in,

in my country and region. But, um, yeah,

for a long time I thought I was giving more,

being outside I, for different reasons, personal reasons and,

and scientific reasons as well.

So I, I'm gonna switch a little bit now.

How many different countries does lab represent?

How many different countries do you have members of lab from? Okay,

That's, that, that's a, that's a good question. It's, uh,

actually we have seven countries participating actively

in the executive committee, but I think we had like, uh,

17 actually

with people registered as participants. So it's, uh,

it's, it's, it's more participants than actually formal representation.

I, I was going to ask, what,

what do each of you think is the biggest challenge that you have? I, I,

I'm gonna start though.

It's huge space, you know,

to travel from who's the most, who, who's, you know,

think about your extremes of distance of your members. Mm-hmm.

How has anyone got an idea of how far away that is,

or even just how far by air airplane that would be to travel from those


More than 20 hours, probably. No.

Yeah. Very often people doesn't realize about that, Peter. I mean,

when I was living, uh, yeah. I mean,

when you invite people to come to your y very often, uh,

for meetings or things like that, and, and especially from the us they say,

okay, uh, they think it's okay. They go to Mexico,

it's a couple of hours flight, three, four hours,

and then you don't expect it. Uh, if I want to go to where you are,

it would take me at least 19 hours to by,

there's so by plane. So it's, uh, it's

huges in reality, sorry, Jonelle. But the,

the diversity of those I was talking in,

in Vena meeting, the,

the diversity of the cultural diversity,

even though we have a lot of commonalities in,

in our ident cultural identity, I mean, it's also very,

very diverse. I think it's, uh,

after Africa is probably the most diverse region of the world.

So in terms of language, for instance, so, uh,

Leo, you you going to say?

No, I, I was, I was just trying to recommend that, you know, if I have to,

to visit Mariana in Mexico or some of the colleagues we have in Mexico,

the difference in time to get into, I don't know, Irv, California, where,

where I did my postdoc is probably two hours. So it's 15 hours to,

to df Mexico, uh, and, um, two hour,

three hours more to, to a California. So it's, it's really, really,

really far. And, uh, and this is always a, a,

a handicap that we have to overcome when we have to attend to meetings,

when we have to go to collaboration, when we have to travel for everything.

Uh, and for me in particular, this is a boost. It's something that really,

uh, uh, put me in the positive way. Not, not in the negative way, no,

I would do it anyway, you know?

Thank you. I, I, I remember, uh, where was it?

I was looking somewhere and just thinking, my goodness, you in one country,

it takes longer. I could fly to the south, to the north, to the south,

to the north of the uk probably seven,

eight times in the time it tra takes travel the width of Brazil. You know,

it's just nuts, nuts in the distance. So it's one of the challenges. You,

you said you've got seven on the exec, you've got different,

presumably trying to set up nodes or hubs in

different areas,

you're gonna have to have that because people can't even afford to travel

necessarily to those hubs. And, and, you know, is,

is that the biggest cha ah, it's, it's, wow. I just, the,

the problems you are gonna have,

the challenges you are gonna have are on a different scale because

of geography, because of the, the finances. Uh,

so that's what I would see as a bit, the enormity, I think is quite,


You imagine? Sorry, yeah.

Mariana, please.

Yeah, no, I would imagine. So I'm, I'm, you know, I'm probably the, uh,

least experienced of, of the three of us here in, in that respect. But,

uh, speaking again, uh, from everything I've heard during the,

the interviews I've done, and what I've seen is also the,

as as Leonna and Andress were saying, the realities of the countries,

they pose challenges on their own. So what happens? Some things,

some instability at the government level.

I don't want to say names of what problems and so on. So,

you know, when I, as I move across regions and people say what the,

what the historical and social and political context is, and many say,

so now imagine trying to do science and looking at your, so I,

I usually ask the question, where do you see science going in the next 10 years?

And so many have answered, I don't know where it's going tomorrow, right?

We don't know what's happening with this government tomorrow. What,

what do I know about 10 years? So I think a challenge to that. And in addition,

you know, not travel across countries, go to a conference or,

or somebody again was saying, yeah, we're trying to make a conference,

and then there's a dengue outbreak, or there is,

and then there's a coup and then there is, you know, malaria outbreak.

So it's a, it's a very complex scenario, uh,

where indeed people are trying to do science when all of this is happening in,

in the background.

I would imagine this is an another thing of challenges, but, uh, I don't, again,

I, I, I think that's across most continents. I, I think, you know,

look at Europe at the moment, it has its challenges. Uh,

Africa has its challenges. You know, we, we've lost collaboration, Sudan, well,

not lost them. They, they, they're there. But we,

we can't carry on those collaborations with Sudan because they've closed down at

the moment. So it happens everywhere. If I was to ask you,

what is your target? What is your medium term,

your five year and 10 year target,

what do you want it to look like from the bioimaging perspective?

Because even if you're not a bio,

not if you were not a microscopist for the world of genomics,

for the world of mass spec, for the, you know,

for the other technologies to underpin all the life science


And I would even put the electron micro search for the material scientists.

They've got their technologies as well. You know,

you are trailblazers here in the region, so where you want to be,

others can follow that type of thing. And I think,

do you have a five year goal and a 10 year goal of where you,

how you want it to look? And what is that? I dunno who's best to ask first. Uh,

so if someone gives me the five year, someone else can give you the tenure,

and then the other one can tell me why it's not gonna happen,

what the real problems are.

If I can take on, on that, Peter, and connect with the previous one,

because I think something that we should,

we are working on elaboration of what you ask about. If we are thinking in,

in Les, you know, centers,

strategic centers in different places on Latin America in order to communicate

and coordinate, um, well indeed we are working in that way.

Um, uh, the, the main idea of connecting the people that we are already have,

um, uh, we already have in the lobby, is, is with this aim. Uh,

then we need to elaborate on how we are going to build this regional

house, this regional centers that can be connected and can be well, um,

communicated. But we have, how,

How would they be connected? They're obviously not physically connected.

How are they connected? How are these nodes actually connected?

How are they working together?

Well, in particularly now, we have grants in order to achieve that goal. Uh,

uh, we just kick off from, uh, uh, uh, a grant the,

the past April here in Monte Vale, which is, is a regional, uh,

and bi regional,

because it's not only connect the people who are involved in lobby,

but some others too, uh, in, in Latin America,

with Europe and with several countries with Europe. And in particular,

we are trying to tackle a problem, which is we eventually may have, you know,

um, the technology, or we may have the opportunity of,

you know, access to certain technology, but we lack of the, you know,

human capacities. And what we are now trying to reach first is to,

you know, grow the human capacities in the different centers, uh,

in a very, you know, energetic way. Not, not,

Andres was mentioned about not to compete. You know,

we are developing a center here in Norway who has a focus,

but in ide there are, uh, in Argentina, there are some other,

with other folks and Chile orders and Mexico. In Peru. In Brazil.

So our goal is to build up on what we have

in the knowhow that we have. And eventually,

not all the center will have all the expertise and all the technologies,

but we will be well connected in order to, uh,

provide the access and expand the access for everyone. And, uh,

we have a second grant now under evaluation, all also in collaboration with, uh,

a, a European Union co, uh, collaborators. And all of them are in the same way,

in the same logic, trying to build up from what we have already,

uh, and try to do the next step, which is okay, now we, we know,

we have the know how,

we have the knowledge of where are the different opportunities,

and then we provide access to everyone.

And do you think the access, because obviously some of these,

there's some samples, uh, Mariana you mentioned parasites, uh,

immunological research and parasites, they don't travel very well. No,

they do see collaborations,

academic collaborations being developed because, you know, they'll go to the,

my cross, we say, I want to do this. They say we can't.

But actually over in Mexico they can, or in Chile they can,

or in Argentina they can. And so then they, they will hopefully,

academics can then find collaborators so that they can prep those samples to do

that scientific study. Do you see that happening?

I think it's already on the way. So I, I know that, for example, in Brazil,

it's precisely this idea. I, I'm just familiar with Brazil right now,

but they're trying to decentralize this and to build a hub in which precisely

what you're saying, that they being such an enormous country,

not just in terms of pathogens, but also plants and so on,

that shouldn't be moved around, um, for, you know,

ecological reasons or so that it would be great to have say,

a a an important center in that is fully equipped and fully with all the

capacities in the Amazon, for example, and being able to do it there,

rather than travel all the way down to Rio Janee or to Sao Paulo.

I think that's already happening.


And wouldn't it be great then if you had the us, the Canadian,

the European PhDs,

postdocs wanting to spend three years at the source of those

pathogens, whether it be human or plants,

instead of trying to replicate it back then, actually, it's the opposite way,

isn't it? To, to how it is at the moment it brings through,

because then they're close and they, you get a feel for the samples. It's tech.

Do you know what, what's great about this? For me,

technology is what brings people together. It's what enables science.

And I think the mari on,

I think that idea of just having the technology that can solve on those problems

that have been asked and being researched in Europe,

the America, north Americas, you know,

it makes a lot of sense to go to where these,

the parasites path the pathogens are actually are,

because it's much safer and environmentally much better.

And the impact, it's where it matters quite often.

This is probably a next step, Peter,

because what we need next is to establish, you know,

these local capacities in order to tackle the question that we have in

place and not travel. Because there are, as you say,

there are things that you cannot travel, right? Uh, and this is the,

basically the,

the fundamental claim of the stabilization of these centers,

these hubs in the region that can concentrate not only the technology,

but the most important thing is the knowhow.

How you take a better advantage of the technology that we have or we will

acquire in the future. Because as, as,

as we all know, and we all agree, we always have limitation of funding.

So we need to really support a case if you want to buy a cryo-electron

microscope, because it, of course, it's, it's more than a million dollar.

So any country, even Brazil, which has 700 electron microscope,

we have to justify why it need a cryo from microscope. And,

and I think this is exactly what you say, but in, in, in another part,

we also need to take advantage of the opportunities we have to collaborate

between regions.

And I think this place has the opportunity to support

local and regional people to maturate, you know,

the project in order to then reach to the next level in the other opportunities

they have, you know, we can elaborate our project at, at,

at the level where is, you know, um,

fair to go to your place or go to, you know,

cha or go to M B L to test the next hypothesis, right?

Uh, because we'll never have all, all the, all the instrumentation.

No, this is the next challenge. How'd you get it funded?

Where's the funding come from? Because, you know, you're in different countries.

So it's, it's not like the eu, which the UK is not there at the minute,

but let's, let's dodge that one. You know,

the EU has common funding,

so countries can work together because there's one funding pot.

I don't think that exists in Latin America, does it?

No. No it doesn't. And, uh, this is,

this is a big problem in, in, in that respect. Uh,

and one of our biggest challenges is to ma keep sus

maintain sustainability. You know,

currently we are being funded by the C C I Foundation, uh, initiative.


So who's to see it for, for those who are not familiar with C C I,

that is the Chance

Zuckerberg Initiative. Um, they gave us a, uh, a funding.

The, the initial funding, I would say it was from the,

this Binational Corporation project of u Y and Mexico. Those were,

that, that's government money, uh,

that those two countries put together for social cooperation or

international cooperation. Those kind of funds exist in, in,

in many directions within Latin America. But, uh,

that was the initial funding and then the Chance Zuckerberg Initiative,

they gave us a three year grant for,

for us to being able to develop the network. So that's the funding right now.

Uh, I mean in terms of, uh,

practical comes to the institute pastor in your way,

but we have one person working for the network,

which has helped us a lot to really make it work because,

uh, uh, that's, that's necessary.

There is a big challenge also to, to make the people understand that,

to keep this working is not only, um,

our work science because we are not being paid or recognized for,

for this. And so it takes,

it's a double effort and very often not well recognized.

And so it's very important to have professional aid in that.

And we are having it now for three years. And the next,

one of the next big challenges on top of the ones you mentioned before is

that one, how do we get funded to continue with this?

We have quite, yes, but, uh, nothing true yet.

I'll challenge back on one bit. I, I would say it's helping your recognition.

Uh, you know, you say you get nothing back, you don't get the recognition.

I think that maybe that's financial or within your,

but that will come because your international reputations are growing. You know,

I I I, I wouldn't have known about you if it wasn't for the initiative.

And, and I think a big shout out to Chan Zuckerberg, uh,

and their funding streams,

'cause it does fund slightly differently to how the other, uh, foundations fund,

and for those who dunno who Chan Zuckerberg, this is essentially

Facebook are sponsoring these initiatives. Uh, so, you know,

social media is an all important part. And I'm sure actually social media,

whether that be Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or whichever,

must play a big part in your communications to make people


'cause I guess the next challenge is to make people aware that this is

actually happening because it's such a big area. Microscopy labs,

some Microscopy labs may.

Do you think there's some that haven't heard of you yet across Latin America?

For sure. Many

People for sure. Yeah, for sure. Many people doesn't know.



So how can we reach them? Come on. How can we reach them? What,

what is everyone who's watching this or listening to this now,

what do they have to do to help you reach those corners that you haven't reached


Well, first of all, you can go to our webpage,

log in and register themself. So everybody will be,

you know, receiving our, uh,

monthly newsletter and every information related to, to,

to Latin American bio machine.

So I, I have to ask, and maybe we could get some, something more clearly.

What is the web address and what, do you have a Twitter handle?

Yeah, yeah. We, 'cause

You need people to share that, that Twitter handle that web.

So you need people not just to go to the site,

but then to share it and to tell their friends about it.

Not just in Latin America, because if it's someone in Europe,

or look at Mariana, you are now up in Chicago,

but if you were to tweet about it,

it's gonna reach colleagues in other parts of, you know, your Yeah.

Pathogen biologists that will then pass it on. So,

so one the is your Twitter handle.


It's, right now it's Latam bioimaging, uh, that,

that, that's the, the Twitter handle, L a t A m bioimaging.

And the, the website is exactly the same, L l A A m,

uh, bioimaging dot arc.

But that's gonna be changing soon because what part of the support from c c

I was, uh,

devoted to actually make a professional website. So in a,

in a couple of months that would be looking different. And, uh,

so it's extremely important to help to spread the world.

I think that's, uh, and this what you're doing, Peter, we thank you very,

very much because I think, uh,

help us reach an audience that it's very important. Uh,

I'm sure many Latin Americans even will find out about lobby thanks to

this. So thank you very much for that. And,

and you do not have to be Latin American to, to be registered and to help, uh,

if you want. So, and to participate, this is, uh,

so far it's open to anyone that can participate and share

information, share resources, uh, get connected to with people,

which is one of the main goals to connect people and to get,

I wanted to add also, sorry. Yeah. Part of the,

part of the join efforts in a way. So that's how, you know, I got into, uh,

contact with, with Leonne and with Andres is precisely,

so someone who has been helping us out is, uh,

the company of biology they gave us through Focal plane.

They gave us a platform for the interview. So the idea it started with, well,

let's, um, um, like,

how do you say this? Um, yeah,

so raise awareness and talk about the, the,

the careers and the paths and the work that is being done by Latin American

scientists, both in Latin America and abroad. And now, I mean, we,

we wish to incorporate similar efforts also through, so it's, you know,

many of the people that have been interviewed are part of Lobby. Um,

and the idea is the same to, to, uh, well now it's,

I want to make it a thousand voices from Latin America and then continue with

that. So, because it's such an enormous region,

just doing 10 interviews per country, it's a five year project in the,

in the timeline that they asked me to stick to in Focal plane,

which was one interview per week. But if we do it a thousand,

then that's 15 years. So, you know, the idea is just, um, it's,

it's part of those efforts. So, uh, the, the,

we want to do things also via lobby, and I think we're meeting sometime soon to,

to talk about that outreach. But, um,

I feel the com of Focal Plane is giving us that.

So it's reaching a different audience as well. Right?

It's both Latin in the region, but abroad as well.

And yeah, so far the feedback has been really good. And that's,

I, I think what you say, sorry, and Andrea, I take what you say Peter,

and I think we have to knock the door. We have,

we still need have to talk the knock the door. We need to go to meetings,

meetings outside of lobby meetings, meeting outside of, of, you know,

our, you know, uh, space of comfort and go and say, we love you.

We are here to do this. And explain, uh, we are still in this, uh,

uh, uh, step of the, uh, growing of lobby.

So I, I think this is an important point actually,

because it's not microscopist you need, well,

you do need to talk to Microscopists and reach out to them because you,

you're still at an early stage. You're only three years in,

but you also need to reach the end users, but it's through the end users,

you're probably gonna meet the funders. Mm-hmm. The people who have the money.

And I'm not just talking about the Chan Zuckerbergs. Yeah.

I'm talking about the,

the governmental funders and getting them to understand the

importance of the infrastructure and how the infrastructure attracts

the best scientists. The infrastructure stops,

the best scientists leaving 'cause they have it on their doorstep.

That's a really important message.

And not all politicians will necessarily understand that straight away.

So championing funders is one of the most difficult tasks, but at the same time,

one of the most important tasks. So the more you, the more noise you make,

the better the chances you'll actually start reaching that. But I, I,

I dunno if you have a plan of how you can do that. 'cause that is not simple.

We, we will be discussing that with you in person in September, hopefully,

because that's, that's why we meet, uh, we have these discussions online,

but I think, uh, we are still in the, in the phase that we need to,


identify the key steps that we need to take to,

to actually make this work, uh, useful.

But, but if I can add to this also, uh, Peter, you know,

within this grant that we, we are,

we were spoken before about cooperation between Europe and Latin America.

Some of the thing that we want to produce is not just, you know,

the training or the, you know, uh, acquiring of better practices in,

in one thing or another is also to you

and can help to, you know, uh, um,

policy makers and, you know, funders particularly specifically of,

you know, government. How important is bio imaging? How important this,

this is a, this is a consortium that not not only include bio imaging's,

also through through biology. The two communities are now very,

very close because, you know,

bioimaging take a big role now in structural biology by all related

to, to cryo-electron microscopy in many other techniques.

So we are convinced that in that way we share a force between the

two, you know, big networks and we will be able to, uh,

generate the opportunities in term of funding that, that not exist already.


I, I, I think it's quite, uh, Europe is, is uk I, I think is,

is in an exceptional place, uh,

really exceptional. Europe is in a good place generally. It's interesting,

the Biogen North America is in its infancy to an extent for

networking. The bioimaging microscopy,

obviously they've got the material side is pretty well looked after.

And the electron, the, like microscopy is only,

I would say now coming together better, more collectively as a, as a continent.

Uh, so you are not alone. And obviously with Africa,

bio Imaging is also has its challenges,

I think, but I think your challenges are different to what they have. Uh,

it, what courses, what events,

what sorts of things are you doing to, what are you delivering?

Are you delivering courses, conferences, networking meetings?

Gimme an example of some of the things you're doing at the moment.

So, so one of the, the main tasks, I mean,

for instance, we are building a platform for communication and,

and to have a channel of communication. This is something very important.

And in terms of, we, we do not organize courses,

but now we have training programs that support people to travel from one place

to another in, in, in Latin America, also outside, for instance,

we have now someone visiting Janelia Farm Laboratories to get trained

and to see how it, how they handle, uh, a top class facility.

But we also have someone traveling from Chile,

from Colombia to Chile to do, to have access to a certain, uh,

equipment that they do not have in Colombia.

So this is the, the main, um, actions,

deliverables that we have so far. Uh, it's, uh,

those training programs just to help people, uh,

get trained in, at different levels,

not only as users or access to equipments, but also for, um,

uh, facility stuff, you know, to,

to learn how to run a facility to exchange experiences

about that and implement changes and to cooperate.

Right. Uh, Maria, we had say something.

No, I was listening.

I, I was gonna say, I, I would, uh,

and I spoke to Chris Wood about this recently, uh, setting up a course,

even if it's in the basic, not, not the most advanced technologies,

just confocal, for example, because it's fairly common.

If you were to run a course and get those students back on an annual basis

to then share what they've done with it to the next cohort,

you'll develop a network of Latin bioimaging

scientists, researchers, not microscopies per se, but researchers using it,

that will actually really strengthen the environment.

I E M B L have done that exceptionally well. And,

but of course is a very good nucleus to start those networks that can,

and if you can bring them back together and glue them, they won't all stay.

They, someone will go off in different ways, but that's how the networks,

and instead of having to then go off to collaborators in Chicago or wherever

else in Pasta, Paris or wherever else, it's you,

you'll have those networks within Latin America and that that could be start

the course.

We're working on that idea. And, uh,

and actually some of those courses already exist and we,

what we are doing is to provide help to, uh,

lavy so far, the funding that we have allow us to,

to help people exploit what we, what is already being done. Because we do have,

I mean, sometimes, uh, what the,

the problem is that not everyone can,

we do not have the funds to make it international, let's say.

But we do have very high quality local courses and, uh,

some of them we didn't even know until, uh, we started to work together,

you know, like, so this is, but it's, and we are working,

uh, having a, like, uh,

putting the people together to organize such a course. It was one of the,

the idea for, for a proposal for C C I, but it did,

we didn't have time to make it.

I, I have, we have three minutes, two minutes left. Leo,

you were gonna say something first and I've got some very quick No, no,

No. Just very quick. You know, what,

what you say is very similar to this idea of, of trained trainers, and,

and this is something that really changed my mind in, in term of training. We,

we start last year with our, you know, unit doing this kind of, uh, uh, uh,

of approaches. And it's really amazing because you, you generate what you say,

you generate a community, community, people who is involved and,

and it's amazing. Yeah. I totally, uh, endorse what you say.

You need to come on our course, send them up to, we do it.

We've had people from Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Chile,

they've all come to come to York, and then we'll train them to send them back.

Uh, but on a more serious note, uh,

before some very quick questions at the end.

One thing that I think maybe the listener doesn't fully appreciate,

we're very fortunate, again, in Europe or in North America,

in that the commercial companies that supply the instruments can

loan them in relatively easy. They, they, they,

they're being made within the region at the, you know,

we can talk directly to them very easily.

Is that the same in Latin America?

Oh, it's very, it's very difficult. Peter, uh, may, maybe Mexico,

because it's closer to, to you, to north, it's better. Uh, it's better.

But in south, in south at the south,

it's very difficult to receive even a demo because you have to overcome

many barriers of energy. First of all, you need to move equipment from very far.

And second, you have a lot of costs associated to the,

to the movement of the demo. For instance,

if you want to bring a demo to Euro y,

you need to deposit an amount of money equal of the cost

of the instrument to get in the instrument, in the country.

So it's a warranty. Uh, so it, it's very, very difficult.

There are companies who are even willing to do it because they, they they,

they completely support this initiative and we need to,

to make it, to make it work. It's, it's not easy.

And, and, and I know I I I, I'm mindful, and, and this is not why Zeiss do this,

but I'm mindful that Herbert Chardon certainly, uh,

and Zeiss have been very supportive, uh, of these


And, and in Africa as well. Uh, make

As a, we, we make it war once.

We make it war once last year with image in Latin America,

which was specific meeting, uh, course workshop, uh,

organ organized with, uh, with Leon Chu from Genevia Research campus,

uh, it was in Neway and we received 24 students from all over Latin America.

And I supported with a demo. It was fantastic.

It was the first time that I experienced this, uh, in, in, in my career.

Uh, and here we are at your ice will do that every time because it's on the

doorstep. It's, it's such a contrast.

I think that's what I want the listener, the viewer to, to understand is the,

And the, the cost

Easy, the complexity for yourselves is, is

Be beyond, beyond the demos or things like that, beyond, uh,

for normal functioning of equipment, technical visits. I mean,

we do, I mean, if for many things, uh,

if you want technical expert, it would be in,

in Sao Paulo for instance. Or there's one in Sao Paulo only,

or one in, and it takes, uh, four ages for them to come.

And it is really, really expensive. Um, I mean, they put together like, uh,

three or four visits in the region to come.

So we have to wait for a long time that,

that's one of the things we're with Harvard, for instance. Uh,

we have been discussing how, how can we improve that and, uh,

how can we lobby work together to serve as a united voice to,

for the, the problems of the community? Because very,

we share the same problem with people, and sometimes we pay the,

we do not coordinate things or, and we paid, uh,

a lot of money. We, when,

and it's a duplication of efforts for everyone, even for the companies. So,

Yeah. And it's not just a Zeiss problem. And,

and actually this is where the companies need to work together, I think,

to help find those solutions, uh,

to make it cost effective and to make it more productive.

So we we're beyond the hour, so I apologize, but I'm gonna ask very quickly,

where's the next meeting?

Mexico cca, nearby cca, uh, it's, um,

the state of Morelos. September. You'll be there, I hope,



And my next question,

if you could choose anywhere in Latin America to have a meeting,

where would it be? I'm gonna start with Mariana.

Oh, oh,

gala Galapagos Islands.

Oh, I'm definitely going to that one. Lionel.

I would have it here in Norway. Not, not because I'm lazy,

because I really like our country

And Andreas

Yeah. I, I would go for, for Ecuador,

which is a, a country that has

and ne negligible community so far.

So try to support the people that are pushing there,

A meeting in keto that, that'd be, that'd be okay. Uh,

so the next final question, what is the, uh, I'm gonna stop you back.

This has to be really quick. Best Latin American country. Andres,

Mexico. Good for me.


Um, probably I would say Argentina in science speaking.

Argentina and science speaking is one of the big, big country.

You, you, you're gonna get, you're gonna get deported now, Mariana. No,

I think that's an impossible question. I mean,

Mexico is my home where my family lives, uh,

but I think all of them are amazing. I couldn't choose.

You all make good politicians, which is why,

which is why you are representing BioGene in Latin America so brilliantly. Well,

I'm gonna say thank you to everyone who's listened to this version of the

Microscopies. There's also a special version for aging North America, coming.

There's one from Africa already out there. They are all very different,

different people, different challenges.

All of you. I think you're doing an amazing job. And you know,

I hope everyone globally helps you to develop as well,

because it's a global effort because we, we can all share best practices.

I think that's really important. Sono, Mariana Andres,

thank you very much today. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Peter.

Important for us. Thank you.

Thank you for listening to the Microscopists,

a bite-sized bio podcast sponsored by Zeiss Microscopy.

To view all audio and video recordings from this series,

please visit bite-size

Creators and Guests

Leonel Malacrida
Leonel Malacrida
Universidad de la República & Institute Pasteur de Montevideo
Mariana De Niz
Mariana De Niz
Northwestern University
Andres Kamaid, Leonel Malacrida, and Mariana De Niz