Chilean Opinion Leaders get close to Genetic Engineering

June 12, 2009

With an interesting dialogue between scientists and opinion leaders concerning the importance of science and innovation for the development of the productive area of the country, ended the Eighth Workshop on Genetic Engineering for Opinion Leaders held at the Fundación Ciencia para la Vida June 4th through June 6th.

Renowned professionals in areas as diverse as business, venture capital funds, academia and communications, shared three days of work experience as genetic engineers. They work with human and bacteria cells, manipulated DNA and created a transgenic fluorescent bacteria.

The participants agreed on the importance of this activity to bring together the business and the scientific worlds. They also agreed on the need to invest new capital by integrating biotechnology into business. “It’s an endless topic that has important implications,” said Claudio Maggi, Executive Director of InnovaChile of Corfo, stressing that “although we are a country rich in natural resources, our future as a nation, probably will require that we move towards a knowledge based economy. In biotechnology we have a promising opportunity as a country and we need to go for it”.

José Miguel Musalem, Management Director of Aurus Capital, was extremely motivated with the experiments in the laboratory, “the magic of this is that you realize what little you know. By doing the experiments is easy to imagine the potential of biotechnology. The Chilean investment in basic science required to support biotechnology developments in Chile is still low. For example, elsewhere billions of dollars are invested and in Chile the investment is around the hundreds. There is a tremendous potential and we must do something constructive about it”.

Opinion leaders stressed the important role of the Fundación in bridging the gap from natural resources to a knowledge economy. Pilar Vergara, Director of Diario La Segunda, indicated that she feels “extremely surprised and proud that in our country there is a place where science is at work trying to solve visionary problems. Here the scientists are facing the world of science in a more diverse way, along with the scope of basic and applied research, health care, entrepreneurship and economy”, she concluded