Fabiana Bigi is a VALIDATE Network Investigator based in Argentina and is a researcher at the Institute of Biotechnology-IABIMO, CICVyA and INTA-CONICET. In this VALID8, Fabiana talks about collaborating with colleagues both locally and internationally, the challenges of undertaking scientific research in developing countries and how her team are working toward a bovine TB Vaccine.
Keep an eye out for more interviews from other members of our network on our VALID8 page.
1 - What do you do you research?
Our research group develops and tests experimental vaccine against bovine tuberculosis. We also identify and characterize virulence factors of pathogenic mycobacteria and study the immune response against bovine tuberculosis in cattle.
2 - What do you tell non-scientists you do?
The development of new vaccines against infectious diseases is one of the most important areas of scientific and technological research in the world. However, these developments closely depend on the basic sciences that study, in depth, the interaction of pathogens with animals, including the human.
3 - What drew you to studying vaccines?
The need to generate tools to control an important disease in our country.
4 - Why is your work important and what could your work lead to?
We believe that our research has contributed to the knowledge of factors and mechanisms of virulence in Mycobacterium bovis infections. This research has been the basis of our experimental bTb vaccines. Our work will hopefully lead to developing a bTB vaccine superior to BCG and compatible with the official diagnosis test of tuberculosis
5 - What is the most interesting thing you have learned in your job?
I have leaned that the social and economical development of a region or country requires a global science and technology program in all its fields. This program has to be inclusive, strategic, independent and friendly to the environment. In developing countries, working in science also requires skills to get results and achieve scientific goals with a very low budget.
One interesting aspect of the scientific work is that it is creative, innovative and challenging, but it requires a lot of commitment, dedication and passion.
6 - What is the best part of your job?
The best part of working in science is working as a team and interacting with many colleagues both worldwide and locally.
7 - What is the most challenging part of your job or research?
To develop a bTB vaccine better than BCG.
8 - Why are vaccines important (particularly in your field)?
Vaccination is the most efficient strategy to control bovine tuberculosis in developing countries. Currently, there is no vaccine against bovine tuberculosis. The only anti tuberculosis vaccine is BCG, which, although has been widely used in humans, fails to efficiently protect against the disease. Reducing the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis not only would bring economic benefits to our country but also would reduce the transmission of tuberculosis to humans.
Find out more
You can find more about Fabiana's research on her VALIDATE biography page.
There are more fascinating interviews with members of our extensive network of researchers on our VALID8? page. This is an ongoing series, so check back regularly.
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