Pilar Parada, General Manager of Fraunhofer Chile, elected one of 100 Women Leaders 2020

The recognition, granted by newspaper El Mercurio and the organization Businesswomen, highlighted the contribution of the also director of our Center for Biotechnology Systems for the high presence of female researchers on its staff and the work to detect SARS-CoV-2 in the field.

Dr. Pilar Parada, General Manager of Fraunhofer Chile Research and Director of its Center for Systems Biotechnology, was awarded as one of the 100 Women Leaders 2020, an annual  prize created in 2001 by the newspaper El Mercurio and the organization Women Entrepreneurs.

The 2020 edition of the award focused on making visible 100 women who reflect "the enormous contribution of women to the fight against covid-19 and its health, economic and social effects" in five categories: Entrepreneurship, Education, Science, Health, and Social.

The 100 laureates were chosen from over a thousand women who were nominated.

“I am proud to represent so many women who, through their work, contribute daily to opening roads for the generations of women to come and, above all, in these times of pandemic and social crisis, where it is increasingly necessary to include the views of diverse groups of people committed to building a sustainable future for our country," she said upon learning that she was one of the 20 selected in the Science category.

Pilar Parada, a biochemist with a PhD in Biological Sciences and diplomas in Strategy and Innovation, and in Business Management, was singled out for making the Systems Biotechnology Centre "an example of female participation in scientific research (more than 55% of its staff are women)" and for the work of this centre to "collaborate with the early detection and monitoring of covid-19”.

The latter refers to the work carried out by researchers from Fraunhofer Chile together with two Fraunhofer institutes in Germany (Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, IME, and Microsystems and Solid State Technologies, EMFT) to adapt a Point of Care diagnostic device (PoC ) that will be able to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus quickly and without the need for highly specialised equipment.

“At the onset of the pandemic, we redirected some of our work to develop an early detection and monitoring device for covid-19 that does not require a laboratory or sophisticated equipment. This will allow us to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the field in just 45 minutes in large groups of people who require routine testing, such as health workers, public servants, and military personnel, among others", says the Director of Fraunhofer Chile-CSB.

The test, which has passed the validations of the European Union in Germany, will start its use in an experimental phase soon, in collaboration with a clinic in Chile. It is expected to be available in our country from 2021.

Tomorrow 2nd October at noon, a virtual ceremony will be held to recognize the 100 Women Leaders.

In the Science category, the distinction also included the Vice Minister and the regional representatives of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation, Carolina Torrealba, Paulina Assman and Olga Barbosa; academics and researchers María Isabel Yussef, Carolina Paz Delgado, María Inés Barría, Loreto Bravo, Mariela Muñoz, Karin Saavedra, Ana María Sandino, Elvira Balcells and Verónica Undurraga, and the leaders of research centres, R&D foundations and research networks, Adriana Bastías, María Florencia Álamos, Jennifer Alfaro, Komal Dadlani, Barbarita Lara, Daniela Mendoza and Andrea Silva

Click here to read the article "Female scientists working on connecting laboratories to the emergencies of the crisis" (Innovation Supplement, El Mercurio newspaper, 01 October 2020).