New Fondecyt projects add to IMPACT research

Four new research projects were selected by the Fondecyt 2024 program of the National Research and Development Agency ANID. The research projects are led by the principal investigators of the IMPACT Center: Úrsula Wyneken (Universidad de los Andes); Sebastián Illanes (Universidad de los Andes); Claudia Altamirano (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso); and postdoctoral researcher Pablo Castro (Universidad de los Andes).

For Maroun Khoury, director of IMPACT, the awarding of these funds “represents a recognition of the work that our scientists are doing, which is aimed not only at generating first-level science but also at having an impact on people’s health by addressing highly prevalent diseases and innovating in the production of biopharmaceuticals” he says.

Mental Health

In the area of mental health, researcher Úrsula Wyneken was awarded the Fondecyt Regular 2024 competition for her research project “Brain astrocyte-derived extracellular vesicles orchestrate macrophage and microglia polarization under stress conditions through miRNA-dependent regulation of macrophage immunometabolism regulator (MACIR)”.

As the expert explains: “Repeated stress precipitates psychiatric diseases such as depression and bipolar disorder, diseases that in turn are associated with a high central (neuroinflammatory) and peripheral inflammatory state. The project is focused on understanding a mechanism by which extracellular vesicles derived from a brain cell type called astrocyte regulate this inflammatory activity”.

Perinatal Health

The physician and IMPACT researcher Sebastián Illanes obtained funding for his project entitled “Deciphering the role of mitochondrial transfer in the pathophysiology of preeclampsia”.

This research “addresses the role of mitochondrial transfer in the pathophysiology of preeclampsia, focusing on the communication between menstrual mesenchymal cells and trophoblast cells during implantation. Our preliminary evidence shows that abnormal mitochondrial transfer could explain the abnormal placentation observed in patients with preeclampsia. The main objective of this project is to characterize the mitochondria of menstrual mesenchymal stem cells and to study their effects when transferred to trophoblast cells, evaluating their proliferation, migration, angiogenesis, and invasion,” he explains.


Claudia Altamirano, principal investigator of IMPACT, was awarded a Regular Fondecyt for her project “Redefining Bioproduction: Customized CHO Cell Platforms for Streamlined Continuous Manufacturing.”

The project aims to “innovate in biopharmaceutical manufacturing to improve access to and cost-effectiveness of biopharmaceuticals that offer new treatments for therapeutic success. Our main objective is to establish a strategy for producing a monoclonal antibody in perfusion culture using a custom-designed CHO cell line capable of regulating cell growth and apoptosis as needed,” says the expert.


IMPACT’s postdoctoral researcher, Pablo Castro, was awarded an Initiation Fondecyt, which seeks to encourage and strengthen the development of excellent scientific and technological research by promoting new researchers and funding research projects of 2 to 3 years.

His project entitled “Mitochondrial supercharging of Natural Killer cells improves their survival and cytotoxic abilities leading to an enhanced antitumor effect” is aimed at studying these blood cells.

According to the researcher: “Natural killers (NK) are a type of blood cells, which are of great relevance for immunotherapies against different types of cancer. However, NK cells lose their ability to attack tumors due to the adverse environment generated in the tumor. In this project, we seek to improve the metabolism of NKs, which would allow them to maintain their activity and ability to attack tumors. This research has great translational potential and could be a new NK-based immunotherapy for cancer treatment”.

Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

Link of interest
Subscribe to our Newsletter
© 2023 IMPACT – All rights reserved | Designed by Adtopia