UCSC-MHIRT Panama includes collaborations with various faculty at INDICASAT (Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Servicios de Alta Tecnología) and STRI (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute). This program is co-coordinated by Drs. Michelle Wainstein, Marcy Balunas, and Gabrielle Britton. Specific placements depend on applicant academic interests and background, mentor availability and funding cycles.
Examples of past UCSC-MHIRT Panama projects:
- Neuroscience: Characterization of brain signaling pathways associated with learning and memory during late development, using animal behavior studies and protein and structural analysis of brain tissue
- Biotechnology: Development of assays for novel substances able to impair the aggregation of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease, using cellular, molecular, spectroscopy and other laboratory techniques, data analysis and several other laboratory techniques
- Biochemistry and Immunology: Screening of synthetic small molecules against Leishmania panamensis and Leishmania major using a cellular models of infection
- Bioengineering: Development of targeted treatments for neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s using novel biomaterials to manipulate the differentiation of adult stem cells