Country of Residence
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University College Cork; University of Washington in Seattle
CancerResearch@UCC; Institute for Protein Design
Seattle, WA, US
Synthetic Biology / Protein engineering / Microbiome and Cancer
Topics to speak on:
Microbiome, Cancer, Protein design, Synthetic Biology, Science innovation, Research Assessment,
I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Postdoctoral Global Individual Fellow, which I gain to pursue a research project at CancerResearch@UCC, University College Cork and the Institute for Protein Design (IPD), University of Washington, Seattle. Through this project (BacStar), I am working on strategies for the delivery of biomolecules by intratumoural bacteria, so these can serve as vehicles for the delivery of Cancer Therapeutics.
I obtained my BSc in Biology from the National University of Honduras (UNAH). After which I pursued an MSc in Molecular Biology and Bioinnovation and a PhD in Medicine at University College Cork. My PhD was focused on the development of methods for the microbiome analysis of tumours and using tumour targeting bacteria to deliver genetically encoded biomolecules to the tumours.
I gained GYA membership in 2021, and since then I co-lead: 1) GYA Scientific Excellence working group, where I engage and co-lead activities that challenge current research assessment practices to promote the development of more inclusive, diverse and equal research environments. In this regard, I am currently coordinating the publication of “A global landscape on research assessment”, a study surveying 141 institutions in 56 countries and also organise discussions through wide-audience platforms, such as: the Triennial Conference of InterAcademy Partnership and Worldwide Meeting of Young Academies.
As co-lead of the Biodiversity for Survival working group, where she co-leads activities promoting biodiversity conservation and promote inclusion, diversity and equality in biosciences. Some recent activities I am co-leading include: (1) the publication of “Biodiversity: the overlooked source of human health” an article featured on the Cover of the March 2023 Trends in Molecular Medicine journal. (2) Designing training workshops for the adoption of computational tools by female researchers in low-income country, as women are underrepresented in the use of this tools, and these are key to advance research in lower income countries. This is planned to be delivered at Kigali, Rwanda (June 2023) and a first pilot was delivered to female young researchers in Nicosia, Cyprus (Sept, 2022); as a stepping stone to form an inclusive all Cyprus island iGEM team. (3) Design of a Science+Art exhibition, to promote biodiversity conservation giving music and imagery to proteins that are of immense value for science and that have been extracted from organisms that are or have been at risk of extinction (e.g. GFP, Luciferase).
Furthermore, Yensi serves in the steering board of the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA), where she aims to represent and advocate for early career researchers worldwide and to expand the CoARA globally, specially to the Global South.
Finally, I have extensive experience in start-up initiatives, among them (1) the first molecular biology lab for the biology school in my home University (UNAH); (2) a molecular diagnostic lab for the reference laboratory in Honduras (Laboratorios Médicos); (3) A health care centre for the integral treatment of diabetic patients and patients with metabolic diseases; (4) GlowDx - a start-up developing molecular diagnostics tailored for the needs of low-income countries (Irish young entrepreneur of the year (2015/2016), Google Adopt a start-up, IndieBio and finalist for SXSW, Pioneer500).
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Postdoctoral Global Individual Fellowship
Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship for pursuing my PhD
AMIDILA Scholarship (European Commission) for pursuing my MSc degree
Academic Excellence Scholarship (UNAH) for pursuing my BSc degree