Photo of Santiago Reyes

Biotechnology & medicine

Santiago Reyes

Cellular reprogramming and genetic engineering techniques that allow scientists to create new tools capable of predicting the risk of heart failure

Year Honored

Latin America

Hails From

"Cardiovascular disease ranks highest of all pathologies in terms of its mortality rate worldwide, claiming approximately 17 million lives each year. Although the symptoms of heart failure and heart attacks are well known, there is still much uncertainty regarding what happens at a cellular level that leads the heart to become ill.

The KATP protein is responsible for regulating the energy in cardiac cells. 10% of the world´s population carries a mutated gene which causes this protein to malfunction, making its bearer more susceptible to suffering from cardiovascular disease. Santiago Reyes, a biomedical engineer, is studying the consequences of this mutation. Through genetic editing he eliminates this alteration from within the cell´s DNA, creating two separate cell lines (one which has been genetically engineered as described, the other a control line) in order to study the consequences of this particular genetic mutation under a multitude of different stressors.

Part of Reyes´ aim is to gather sufficient scientific evidence to establish this mutation as a marker for heart failure. In the future his technology will allow us to predict the likelihood that any given patient will suffer from heart disease, and which treatments may be most effective."