Two students from Valdivia, a city in the south of Chile, who won the right to represent the Latin American country after obtaining the Explora 2009 National Congress award, traveled to San José, California, U.S.A., to present their research on the beneficial properties of the “nalca” (Gunnera tinctoria) at the Plant Sciences scientific competition.
Sharon Castro (17) and Diego Baeza (16) from the Instituto Gracia y Paz in Valdivia, participated in the Projects category. After presenting their findings regarding the anti-oxidant properties of this plant, they obtained fourth place in the contest that took place between 9 and 14 May 2010.
The young Chileans participated together with 500 scientists from 50 countries with their project “Phytochemical research and evaluation of the anti-oxidant capacity of the stalk of the Gunnera tinctoria (nalca)”. During their research they were guided by their Chemistry teacher, Laura Torres, and teachers from the Pharmacy Institute of the Universidad Austral de Chile (Uach), Karin Jurgens and Joel Pardo.
“We are very happy about this award. We are certain that, with serious and continuous work, Chilean students can obtain world class awards”, stated the young people after receiving this important recognition.
This is not the first time a Chilean scientist has won a distinction in the United States. Prior to this, Gonzalo Torres, a doctor in Neurobiology and assistant professor at the School of Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh, received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which was presented by president Barack Obama himself.
In addition, a few days ago Chilean entrepreneur María de la Luz Osses Klein received a silver medal from the United Nations in the context of the 2010 Empretec Award to Women Entrepreneurs for her innovative proposal regarding the sustainable extraction of copper.