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ISCT South & Central America Regional Early Stage Professionals (ESP) Subcommittee, towards better connections to develop successful therapies



Ivonne Salinas
Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ
Colegio de Ciencias de la Salud
Escuela de Medicina
Quito, Ecuador

Caroline Muiler
Cellular and Molecular Physiology Laboratory
Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho IBCCF
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
UFRJ, Brazil

María Ignacia Cádiz, Tatiana Maron-Gutierrez
Laboratory of Immunopharmacology
Oswaldo Cruz Institute
Oswaldo Cruz Foundation
Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Andrés Caicedo
Universidad San Francisco de Quito, USFQ


Science is more dynamic than ever before. Researchers are highly connected through professional and social networks developing interdisciplinary collaborations and innovative solutions to health problems. Since 1992, the International Society of Cell and Gene Therapy (ISCT) has encouraged and supported this unique dynamic network among clinicians, regulators, researchers, and industry partners worldwide. Through the ISCT network, early-stage professionals (ESPs) have the opportunity to connect with a great diversity of members learning and gaining the necessary know-how to succeed in the translation of their discoveries to patients' bedsides. 

Even with this great dynamism, not all ISCT regions have the same scientific, regulatory, and industrial standards. Here is where the regional executive committee of the South and Central America (SCA) Region has been working to even the requirements to develop cell and gene therapies. To support the initiatives of our executive committee and the ISCT network, the SCA ESP subcommittee aims to build our sense of community through activities that involve other regions, communicate our initiatives, and strengthen our network and mentoring opportunities worldwide. We want to help our ESPs to understand what is needed to publish high-quality articles, and provide resources, career guidance, and any form of support to ensure their success. 

The ESP SCA subcommittee is a novel initiative, with members from three countries, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador aiming to expand the ISCTs values, with respect and support of diversity and inclusivity among our members, leading to more opportunities for our region.

In this article, we present our ESP SCA subcommittee to the ISCT community, sharing who we are and what we expect to achieve in the next year:


Ivonne Salinas
Medical Student
Universidad San Francisco de Quito, USFQ

Ivonne is an MD candidate, class of 2023. President of the Medical Student’s Association at USFQ. Founder and Ex-President of the Gender Equity Initiative in Global Surgery of Ecuador. Member of the American Academy of Neurology. Teaching Assistant at USFQ. Active researcher at Dragon BioMed Laboratory, Genetics Research Group, and ISCT- Ecuador Chapter at USFQ. She has experience in project management, social media development, and organizational strategic planning. She describes herself as a creative leader who strengthens team work among people of all ages and cultures. Her motivation comes from her desire to enhance her peers' talents, advocating for integral medical education, open science, and gender equality.


“My ESP SCA objective is to promote ISCT's vision and mission by engaging our regional early career students to develop their ideas for better gene and cell therapy research.” - Ivonne Salinas, ISCT SCA ESP Committee Member.


Ivonne had the opportunity to learn from the best mentors of ISCT for two years and she is ready to provide guidance and academic tools to other students. Ivonne wants to connect with student associations and platforms to promote ISCT's goals through advertising, innovative projects, networking, and recruitment.

Caroline Muiler
PhD Candidate
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro


Caroline is a Ph.D. candidate in Biological Sciences (Physiology) at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, with a sandwich doctorate period concluded at St. Michael Hospital and the University of Toronto, Canada. Additionally, she is a member of the ESP Leadership Development Program of the ISCT. She has a bachelor’s in Biological Sciences (Biophysics) from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (2015), a Master's in Biological Sciences (Biophysics) from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (2017), and a degree in Biological Sciences from the Candido Mendes University (2018). Caroline works on projects related to animal models in kidney and lung diseases; sepsis; cell therapy; extracellular vesicle therapy. She also works in the area of scientific communication through the creation of content for the social networks of the Pulmonary Research Laboratory. She has teaching experience where she elaborated on didactic material for distance learning. Caroline monitors clinical studies to develop new therapies for COVID-19. She has experience in the areas of cell therapy, cell biology, molecular biology, physiology, and biophysics.


“My ISCT ESP SCA objectives are to provide a student point of view to improve mentoring opportunities for ISCT ESPs and increase the interactions with the regional leadership.” - Caroline Muiler, ISCT SCA ESP Committee Member.


She aims to encourage new students to participate in ISCT, improve the cross-talk between researchers, promote new collaborations, and improve engagement through posts on ISCT's social networks. In addition, Caroline wants to increase career guidance initiatives that are important to graduate students in training.


María Ignacia de Cádiz
Head of GMP Production
Cells for Cells & Consorcio Regenero


María Ignacia is head of the Cells for Cells & Consorcio Regenero production facility under good manufacturing practices (GMP). She is part of the regulatory committee for the SCA region. María Ignacia is a biotechnology engineer from the Universidad Andrés Bello (Chile). She has an M.Sc. in biotechnology, with an internship scholarship in gene therapy and epigenetics at the laboratory of the University Medical Center of Groningen (UMCG), Netherlands. She has a diploma in Innovation and Business Rentability from the University of the Andes (Chile). She has certifications for the manufacturing of advanced therapy drugs for regenerative medicine (Gradocell, Spain) and ISO 9001:2015 internal auditor (LW consulting). She is trained in HVAC operation for clean rooms in hospitals according to ISO 14644 (DITAR, Chile). In her 7 years of professional development, she actively participated in more than five clinical trials inside and outside Chile. Her research team composed of researchers and clinicians has been a winner of the AADR / IADR William J. Gies Award in Clinical Research. In 2021, she and her team won the H. Ralph Schumacher Pan American League of Rheumatology Associations (PANLAR) Award. In addition, she is leading the process of technology transfer to produce Chilean therapies in the United States, and achieve FDA approval for Cells for Cells.


My ISCT ESP SCA objective is to develop a network between researchers and clinical experts to improve people's quality of life.” - María Ignacia, ISCT SCA ESP Subcommittee Member.


Tatiana Maron-Gutierrez
Co-Chair SCA ESP
Assistant Researcher
Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, FIOCRUZ

Tatiana is an Associate Researcher at the Laboratory of Immunopharmacology at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (IOC/Fiocruz). She has a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ, 2007), a master’s and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences (Physiology) from the Carlos Chagas Filho Institute of Biophysics (IBCCF), UFRJ (2009, 2013), a sandwich doctorate from the University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada) (2010-2011). She coordinates projects with independent funding. She is a Young Scientist of Our State from the “Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro – FAPERJ” (2021-2024) and leader of the research group ‘Stem Cell Therapies in Encephalopathies Associated with Infectious Diseases’. She was awarded the II Young Researcher Sepsis Award from the Institute Mérieux and the Latin American Institute of Sepsis (2019). In addition, she is a permanent professor in the Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology, she coordinates the Animal Use Ethics Committee of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (CEUA-IOC) and the IOC Vacation Courses. She works as a reviewer for international journals. Tatiana has experience in teaching and research in cell therapy. Her research emphasizes inflammation and stem cell therapy in infectious diseases affecting the central nervous system.

“My ISCT ESP SCA goals are to encourage and advise new students to pursue stem cell therapy research, as well as to raise awareness about the specific challenges that the SCA region faces when working with stem cells and other advanced therapies.”  - Tatiana Maron-Gutierrez, Co-Chair , ISCT SCA ESP Committee.


Andrés Caicedo
Co-Chair SCA ESP
Universidad San Francisco de Quito, USFQ


Andrés obtained his Ph.D. with Honors in Biomedicine in 2013, he has a specialization in Regenerative Medicine from the Biomedicine Research Institute and Biotherapies (IRMB) and a specialization in Management, all of them from the University of Montpellier. From 2016 to the present, he is a Professor-Researcher at the School of Medicine of the San Francisco University of Quito (USFQ). He is the leader of the “Biomedical Discovery” Team. His team is interested in the generation of new therapies for the repair of tissue affected by age, environmental stress, or damage. In 2017, he was part of the awarded Innovators Under 35 in Latin America prize by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Review. He was the winner of the 2017 Innovation contest “Ecuador Changes the World” for the Alliance for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of Ecuador (AEI). Since 2018, he is responsible for the R&D department at “Sistemas Médicos USFQ”. In 2020, he was elected Regional Secretary for the SCA Executive Committee. Andrés is the CSO of Dragon BioMed-USFQ, the first start-up in Ecuador dedicated to the advancement of regenerative medicine. 

“My objectives are to connect our community with all regions through meetings, workshops, and talks. I aim to develop more mentoring opportunities for our members and help other ESPs to increase their know-how in cell and gene therapy to increase their career success.” - Andrés Caicedo, Co-Chair, ISCT SCA ESP Committee.

As the ESP SCA Subcommittee team, we look forward to collaborating with you and increasing the impact of the ISCT worldwide to improve patient lives.