Upstate graduate student receives four-year fellowship for his research on viral diseases

Upstate graduate student receives four-year fellowship for his research on viral diseases

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- Upstate graduate student Arturo Barbachano-Guerrero has received a four-year fellowship from the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology.

The award from Consejo Nacional De Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) will help Barbachano-Guerrero conduct research on dengue fever. Dengue is a debilitating mosquito-borne viral disease that is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics, and whose presence has been reported in the United States and Western Europe.

Barbachano-Guerrero enrolled at Upstate last year after meeting Anna Stewart-Ibarra, Ph.D., M.P.A., and Timothy P. Endy, M.D., M.P.H., from Upstate’s Center for Global Health and Translational Science via a mutual collaborator.

Stewart-Ibarra’s research specialty is the environmental and socio-political influences on dengue transmission in Ecuador.

Barbachano-Guerrero, who has a bachelor’s degree as a chemical bacteriologist and parasitologist and a master’s degree in molecular biology, taught college students for a year in Mexico City, then worked for the Mexico City health ministry for two years in a research lab on infectious diseases.

His primary research focus is in pathogenesis of viral diseases, specifically with Dengue and Kaposi Sarcoma-associated viruses with Endy and Christine King, PhD, who conduct research on dengue in the Far East and in South America. He has contributed to a study of dengue in bats in southeastern Mexico.

“It’s very translational,” Barbachano-Guerrero said of the work he’s doing at Upstate. “We can develop and apply plans to control infectious diseases. I like the basic science, too.”

Public health crises like dengue fever and the Ebola virus affecting Africa have social, ecological and biological components, Barbachano-Guerrero said.

While the Ebola virus has captured the world’s attention, dengue fever has been spreading as well. At first only associated with Thailand, dengue has been in South and Central America for a long time.

“We can’t tell if it’s going to be a big problem,” he said of dengue.

Barbachano-Guerrero has four more years of research at Upstate to look forward to, but he’d like a career as an academic researcher in Mexico. “I plan to go back and apply what I have learned,” he said.

Caption: Upstate graduate student Arturo Barbachano-Guerrero has received a four-year fellowship from the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology to study viral diseases.

Top