Claudia Saborit

Claudia Saborit is a Cornell University graduate who received a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. She is currently working as a medical technologist in the Virology department at the Animal Health Diagnostics Center at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. She began her studies at Miami Dade Honors College where she received an Associates Degree in Biotechnology while conducting research with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. She is passionate about helping disadvantaged groups and those who lack the access to quality healthcare and education. As a Cuban born in an impoverished neighborhood in Havana, Claudia saw first hand the damages caused by a lack of resources. She has been shaping her education in a way that would make her a positive influence to help and treat disadvantaged communities by expanding her techniques in the wet lab and clinical spheres. She will continue pursuing this goal by attending medical school in August of 2018.

            As a Spanish translator and writer for We Speak Science, Claudia was introduced to the opportunity to present the project that she worked on in New Orleans, which ranks second in the nation for the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the absence of an HIV vaccine, sexual transmission of HIV continues to be a major public health concern. More than 1.2 million people in the US are living with HIV infection which young people are less likely to be aware of being infected (Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund). With the goal of learning more about infectious diseases and how it impacts the urban city of New Orleans, Claudia went to the Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Science Center where she worked under Dr. Ashok Aiyar’s and Dr. Pam Kozlowski’s mentorship to characterize a primary immortalized rhesus macaque endocervical cell line that could be used for HIV vaccine studies. The mechanisms used by HIV to enter the host at mucosal surfaces are still poorly understood, but are believed to involve transcytosis across impermeable columnar epithelium in the intestine and endocervix. Rhesus columnar epithelial cell lines would be a suitable model for such studies and are urgently needed to study the potential effects of vaccine-induced antibodies on viral transmission at mucosal surfaces. The dedicated faculty and students at LSU Health work tirelessly with the aim to decrease the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases in urban cities like New Orleans. Thanks to them and the help of graduate students such as ShardulSherandan, RafiqNabi and funding from the National Science Foundation, Claudia was able to accomplish this project. 

                                                                               Harmela Sinanaj and Inva Mamica 

Another work that stood out among the scientific researches was that of two medical students from Albania, Harmela Sinanaj and Inva Mamica with their subject on diabetes and cognitive impairment burden. First time conducting clinical research and lack of funding hasn't stopped the two passionate about science to be curious and crave into the unknown of medical sciences. Under Dr.Ilir Alimehmeti’s mentorship they demonstrated substantial medical research skills.

They found that diabetes was associated with lower MMSE scores and possible dementia. Furthermore, their research on the Type 2 Diabetes and Cognitive Impairment has serious socio-economic and medical impact and significance. Rated at the top of the Albanian applications the two students aim to expand their research knowledge in the future.Being part of We Speak Science has helped them gain new sights in medical writing and science achievements. As students from a developing country they hope to use their knowledge in the future in order to help building a better medical facility.