Investigative Centers

University laboratories and research centers have global potential.


A research study led by two Chilean women received significant attention in early 2009 for their advances.  Their most recent collaboration focused on improving the treatment options for children that suffer from a rare and deadly degenerative condition named Niemann-Pick Type C.

After publishing the results in a highly regarded global journal, the researchers, Álvarez and Zanlungo, have professed a new objective: to develop treatments for illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease in their research facilities in Santiago. These women prove that, in Chile, such scientific potential exists.

Álvarez and Zanlungo’s expanded vision is more than just wishful thinking.  Other recent projects support this culture of scientific and medical progress.  Such research includes advances in healing skin burns, cancer diagnosis and treatment, and melanoma vaccines.

At the same time, the Chilean researcher Pablo Valenzuela has made tremendous contributions by developing a hepatitis-B vaccine and discovering the hepatitis-C virus.  He has also headed an international team that clones and sequences the HIV genome.  Other notable advances include creating insulin from yeast cultures for diabetics.

The contributions made by Valenzuela were recognized in his receipt of the National Applied Science Award in 2002.  The most recent recipient of this award was Miguel Aguilera for his contributions to gastronomic engineering and functional food research, including enriched milk, probiotics, and antioxidants.

Seismologist Edgar Kausel also received this award for his development of a set of standards, guidelines, and regulations of Chilean building design.  The impact of his work has been huge in the sense that it allows one of the most seismically active countries in the world much more latitude in construction.  As a result, more ambitious projects can be safely built in a country that, in 1960, suffered the most powerful earthquake recorded history in Valdivia.  The earthquake registered an estimated 9.5 on the Richter scale.

Another award that is similar to the one discussed above is the Exact Science National Awards.  Two of its past recipients, Miguel Kiwi and Rafael Benguria, made important advancements in different areas.  Miguel Kiwi was recognized for his research in solid physics and what is known as Exchange Bias Theory.  Rafael Benguria is often noted for his publications in the journal Annals of Mathematics, as well as, discoveries for how vibration can determine the geometric properties of objects and matter.