Velky Ahumada, Colombia
- Current position: PhD student at the Institute for Immunological Research, University of Cartagena
- Scholarship: Ernst Mach Stipendium - Ernst Mach grant worldwide, financed by the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OeAD-GmbH)
- Duration: 02.2018-07.2018
- Motto: "Everything is possible"
Velky Ahumada completed her bachelor in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 2009 and her master’s degree in Immunology in 2011. She is currently a PhD student in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Cartagena in Colombia. She has a scholarship granted by the Colombian government (COLCIENCIAS and COLFUTURO) to carry out her doctoral studies. Her work is based on the relationship between helminthiases and allergy. In Colombia as in other countries, allergic diseases are important health problems. Also, ascariasis (caused by the helminth Ascaris lumbricoides) is present, being the most common helminth intestinal infection. Velky Ahumada works at the Institute for Immunological Research of the University of Cartagena that is devoted to research and education in Clinical and Experimental Allergy. The research is focused on the genetic and environmental factors influencing allergy, especially in the Tropics. She is working on the production of recombinant proteins from Ascaris lumbricoides, the characterization of new allergens and also in the study of possible mechanisms involved in the attenuation of allergic symptoms. She received the Ernst Mach Grant worldwide to develop an important topic of her research project at the Biosciences Department of the University of Salzburg, where she had access to all the equipment, techniques and cell-based assays necessary to develop her research.
The Ernst Mach scholarship was very important for me because I developed part of my thesis related to the physicochemical characterization of recombinant proteins produced by biotechnology, and this was possible thanks to the funding I obtained through the Ernst Mach grant worldwide financed by the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OeAD-GmbH). The molecular biology training that I acquired during my internship can now be applied in my country. I enjoyed my stay in Salzburg very much, the team from the OeAD organized everything for me and I always counted on their support at all times. This experience changed my life, allowed me to realize that it is always possible to learn more and meet new people from many different cultures. The work in the laboratory was very productive. Also, people in the laboratory taught me a lot. This time in Salzburg changed my horizons, it will allow me to finish my thesis and publish an article. I consider this a very successful result of my research stay in Austria. Personally, the new people I met marked my life as much as did the academic experience. I made many friends and they also helped me achieve my dreams.