Photo of Luis Zea

Biotechnology & medicine

Luis Zea

He sends bacteria to outer space and later uses them in experiments designed to create new drugs

Year Honored

Latin America

Hails From
Central America

"Bacterial resistance to antibiotics has become an important threat to humans. On the other hand, it has been demonstrated that bacteria in space reproduce more quickly and prolifically.

Combining these two concepts, Luis Zea has experimented with microorganisms, studying which genes are expressed differently in space and thereby identifying the genes involved in the bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Zea aims to send genetically modified strains into space in order to present mutations that alter the function of the resistant genes. With this discovery, the young Guatemalan wants to reverse the death toll on Earth linked to bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics.

In the next round of experiments, this young innovator plans to use strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacteria responsible for the majority of urinary tract infections worldwide and the most common infection for astronauts."