COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Fausto Andrés Ortiz-Morea, a researcher from Universidad de la Amazonia in Colombia, has received funding from the Pew Latin American Fellows Program in the Biomedical Sciences to do research in conjunction with Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

pew latin american fellow program
Dr. Fausto Ortiz-Morea. (Photo courtesy Ortiz-Morea)

Ortiz-Morea was one of 10 researchers from six Latin American countries chosen. He and the other nine researchers will receive two years of funding from the program to conduct research in U.S. laboratories.

Ortiz-Morea will work under the mentorship of Dr. Libo Shan, a professor of plant pathology and microbiology with the Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology at Texas A&M University, College Station.

His research will include investigating how plants integrate and execute an immune response against invading pathogens.

At Universidad de la Amazonia, Ortiz-Morea has been engaged in a variety of research related to agricultural plant science, and molecular and cell biology. This research, aimed at understanding the subcellular signaling networks of plant defense in conjunction with growth and development, could help in the behavioral modulation of food production plants to better protect them from environmental factors.

“Dr. Otriz-Morea will continue his research on cell-to-cell communication related to plant immune responses and the chemical components involved,” Shan said. “He will bring synergy to our lab research on the language of chemical signals, which cells use to communicate with one another during growth and development and when they become infected.”

She said understanding plant cell biology and chemistry will help in the development of food plants with improved resistance against diseases and other adverse environmental challenges, as well as in the promotion of maximum quality and yield.

This year, Pew selected a total of 39 researchers in its newest class of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences, Pew Latin American Fellows Program in the Biomedical Sciences and Pew-Stewart Scholars Program for Cancer Research.

According to Pew, these programs award multiyear grants to scholars and fellows are undertaking ambitious research projects, including examining the sensory processes, studying interactions between hosts and microorganisms, and exploring different strategies for combating cancer.

For more information on the Pew Latin American Fellows Program in the Biomedical Sciences, go to

Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, [email protected]

Contact: Dr. Libo Shan, 979-845-8818, [email protected]

Dr. Fausto Ortiz-Morea, [email protected]

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