- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
A native of Puente Alto, Santiago, Chile, he joined the Chiu lab in 2020 and is exploring the molecular and neural circuits that regulate seasonal biology in animals.
Under this Pew program, young scientists from Latin America receive postdoctoral training in the United States, “giving them an opportunity to further their scientific knowledge by promoting exchange and collaboration between investigators in the United States and Latin America—ultimately resulting in advances in research in Latin America,” Pew spokesperson Abigail Major said.
Sergio is one of 10 post-docs from across Latin America—including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay—to receive two years of funding to conduct research. The fellows will work under the mentorship of prominent biomedical scientists, including alumni of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences.
“Sergio's academic and research track record is outstanding,” said Chiu, associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology. “Although he has only worked in my laboratory for less than a year, I have been very impressed by his drive, independence, ingenuity, and intellect. Given his long-standing interest in understanding how neuronal mechanisms regulate behavior and physiology, his research goals align very well with my laboratory. I am excited he has been named a Pew Latin American Fellow; it is very well deserved. I look forward to partnering with him to study regulation of seasonal biology."
Hidalgo Sotelo wrote his dissertation on “Using Drosophila to Model Schizophrenia Symptoms.” He was awarded a dual doctorate in physiology and pharmacology in 2020 from the University of Bristol, and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He also holds a master's degree in biological science from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and a bachelor's degree in biochemistry there.
Of his research in the Chiu lab, he explained: “Animals use environmental cues to match their behaviors with the season: as temperatures fall and days grow shorter, birds fly south, and fruit flies curtail their reproduction, Hidalgo Sotelo said. “But little is known about the mechanisms that allow animals to synchronize with the calendar. I will work on elucidating this machinery, using an array of cutting-edge techniques in cell and molecular biology, neurogenetics, and genomics, aiming to identify the molecules that contribute to the seasonal oscillations of EYA, a key component of the seasonal timer previously described by a number of groups, including Dr. Chiu's lab. These findings will broaden our understanding of seasonal biology and could lead to new approaches for treating disorders that display seasonality, including infectious diseases and seasonal affective disorder.”
Another Pew postdoctoral fellow is Mariana Duhne Aguayo of the UC San Francisco lab of Joseph Berke where she is mapping the neural circuits that calibrate how swiftly animals move.
Other postdocs are training in labs at Harvard University, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, University of Virginia, Washington University School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, and New York University Langone Health.
Pew Trust officials also announced the recipients of the Pew Scholars in Biomedical Sciences, who include Bennett Penn, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Medicine's Division of Infectious Diseases. The Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences provides funding to young investigators of outstanding promise in science relevant to the advancement of human health.