UDLAP Professor Receives the Breakthrough Prize

  • She received the award as part of the team that obtained the data to visualize the shadow of a black hole.

Dr. Milagros Zeballos Rebaza, faculty member of the Department of Actuarial Sciences, Physics, and Mathematics at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, is one of the scientists who received the Breakthrough Prize, which is known as the Oscar of Science. The UDLAP professor was part of a multi-institutional and multinational team that obtained the data to capture the shadow of a black hole. The discovery was announced on April 10, 2019 with an image achieved thanks to the participation of 347 scientists who applied a technique known as long-based interferometry, which combines signals from several telescopes to simulate a much larger one.

“As part of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, I was granted the Breakthrough Prize, which is given in three fundamental scientific categories: Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences, and Math. The EHT project won for the year 2020 in the Fundamental Physics category,” commented Dr. Zeballos who also said that the 3 million-dollar award is for the team collaborating in the project. “We are planning now what to do with this money, that the prize earned by the members of the Large Millimeter Telescope be utilized to promote science among young people who live in the communities around that telescope,” she said.

The Breakthrough Prize is one of the biggest scientific awards in the world, and is known as the “the Oscar of Science.” This award recognizes outstanding achievements in physics, math, and biological sciences and was established in 2012 through the Milner Initiative, backed by the president of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and one of the creators of Google, Serguéi Brin. “The Breakthrough Prize is awarded to outstanding research in fundamental physics; the idea behind it is to encourage research in basic science, considered as the way to advance science and technology for mankind,” Dr. Milagros Zeballos explained.

Finally, Dr. Zeballos Rebaza mentioned that winning this prize is a great satisfaction for her, “because it represents the work of a lot of people for a long time, since the EHT project has been trying for many years to capture the first image of a black hole.”

It is worth mentioning that every year the Prize has a topic. This year´s is “See the Invisible”, inspired by the collaboration of the EHT, which obtained the first image of a black hole, a great feat for the scientific world.

The participation of Dr. Milagros Zeballos Rebaza in the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) was focused on acquiring data to produce this image. The Prize will be received on November 3 by Shepherd Doyleman, event director of the EHT, in representation of the team members who obtained the data to visualize the shadow of a black hole.

UDLAP Student Was a Summer Intern at University of Arizona

César Leonardo García Contreras, seventh semester student of Biomedical Engineering at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, was a summer intern at University of Arizona as part of his professional practices, collaborating in a project with Dr. Rebecca Vanderpool about the heart’s right ventricle, studying arterial pulmonary hypertension.

Committed to his future and looking to develop a biomedical engineering project that he was interested in, he met with Rebeca Vanderpool who has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, at University of Arizona. She is currently working on studying the heart’s right ventricle to analyze arterial pulmonary hypertension.

As part of the work team, Cesar’s activities were focused on quantifying the data that she had obtained in the application of a treatment for this ailment. “I analyzed data from patients before they received treatment and after 3 months of treatment to compare and evaluate if it had worked for this disease,” the UDLAP student commented during an interview.

During his summer stay, Cesar had the opportunity to work in Dr. Vanderpool’s lab and he lived the experience of interacting and learning in a completely different environment. “It is very hard work, fast but organized and intelligent. It was something that gave me much personal and professional growth. I learned a lot from everything I was working on, the programs I used, the papers I read, which I can apply in my last year at college and for after I graduate,” he explained.

Regarding his stay at University of Arizona, the student said that it was a very good experience because of the relationship that this place has with young students like him who carry out research and work in labs. On the other hand, he said: “This summer was very productive for me because the program also offers extras such as speaking in public and writing in English. This helped me to develop professionally in an international environment.”

When he was finishing his stay, César García participated in a congress with people from Saudi Arabia and several Mexican universities. “Each one presented what they had been working on, what we did, the results, hypotheses, among other things.  Besides this presentation, there was also a poster fair attended by about 250 students from different programs at the same university and others in the United States and abroad”, he said.

Finally, the seventh semester student expressed for the UDLAP community the importance of these stays. “You have to leave, learn new things, and face different situations. There are many options, but you have to look for them and take advantage of them.”

UDLAP Graduate Triumphs as Opera Singer in Switzerland

  • As part of the 2019-2020 tour, Leonardo Sánchez will debut in Spain and Italy, next to great voices such as Placido Domingo and Fabio Luisi

The young tenor Leonardo Sánchez Rosales, proud graduate from the Licenciatura in Music at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, continues his artistic career, this time abroad as part of the Zurich International Opera Studio, one of the most prestigious opera training centers in the world.

“I had the opportunity to be in six productions, three of them in premier. I participated in the opera Macbeth by G. Verdi, Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss, the musical Sweeney Todd, and the opera Lucia de Lammermoor where I had the great opportunity to work under Nello Santi, an incredible Italian maestro. In the end, I was also in the production of Le nozze di figaro and I starred in the opera Il barbiere di Siviglia in the yearly production by Zurich International Opera Studio,” added Leonardo during the interview.

In order to accomplish his dream, after finishing his academic training Leonardo applied to prestigious opera schools in Los Angeles, Paris, Vienna and Zurich. “I was anxious to continue my artistic career and continue training. There are places around the world where they prepare you and at the same time you work, a modality called Opera Studio, an educational workshop where they pay you for your work in theater as a professional, but you still have language, music, and some master classes. It is really just to perfect your opera skills,” he added.

Since all the Opera Studios he auditioned to accepted him, he had to make a crucial decision for his career and, “the advice of Mexican singers who have or had an international career, such as maestros Ramón Vargas, Javier Camarena, and Francisco Araiza, the recommendation was that the best place I could go to was the Swiss Opera,” he commented.

It is important to remember that Leonardo’s career started to take off while he was still a student in the UDLAP cultural representative teams. “I had the opportunity to belong to the Opera Studio of Bellas Artes and perform in their productions. I sang the opera La traviata in the Teatro del Bicentenario in León; the opera Don Giovanni with the Yucatan Symphonic Orchestra in the Peón Contreras theater; and La finta giardiniera with the Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra,” he recalled. In 2016 he obtained the Revelación Juvenil prize in the International Singing Contest of Sinaloa and first place in the Carlo Morelli National Contest, as well as the Young Revelation and special prize from the Bellas Artes Opera.

On the other hand, the Mexican tenor expressed his gratitude to Universidad de las Américas Puebla as he not only developed his artistic abilities there, but also his human side. “Take advantage of being in a university such as UDLAP; it is a place where you can obtain experiences, friends, and knowledge because it allows you to interact with foreign people who may open doors to a lot of possibilities. The recipe for success is to dedicate some time to your passion and some time to your training, which would normally go together, because when you do something that is your passion and you have discipline you will always have great results,” he commented.

Finally, regarding his artistic future, the tenor shared: “I will continue for one more year in the Switzerland Opera, and possibly stay in the solo ensemble full time. I am also very fortunate to announce that I will debut in Madrid and Sevilla in Spain and Padua, Italia, where I’ll be in three different operas: Farinelli by T. Bretón, and Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni by Mozart, in addition to all the operas that I have with the Zurich Opera. I will be sharing the stage with Plácido Domingo and with artists such as Fabio Luisi, and Bryn Terfel who are very important in the opera world”.

UDLAP Faculty Member is Named Editorial Committee Member of an Asian Architectural Magazine

Dr. Iván Oropeza Pérez, Research and Graduate Coordinator at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, was named member of the editorial committee of Architecture and Design Review, a magazine based in Singapore. He is the only Latin-American member of this committee.

“Thanks to a direct proposal from the Architecture and Design Review magazine, I was invited to participate in the editorial committee, informing me of my obligations and rights. After some negotiation, we agreed that on August 2019 I would become a member of the editorial committee,” explained during an interview the UDLAP faculty member.

Architecture and Design Review is an open access magazine edited in English. It is about architecture, design, urban planning, urban design, and sustainable architecture. “It is published every three months, with at least one special issue per year about a specific topic,” commented Dr. Oropeza. He also highlighted that the magazine is based in Singapore wishing to be a space of international collaboration, with an editorial committee made up of people from Algeria, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, India, the United States, the UAE, and Spain.

The main responsibilities for the UDLAP faculty member are to maintain the quality of the magazine and to review all articles to guarantee their merit to be published. “There are magazines such as these everywhere in the world, but the idea is to be of good quality, be read more widely, and to maintain its impact, which in the end is the objective of science” he affirmed.

On the other hand, he commented: “I am committed to submit a work on my research topic by next year at the latest, and to participate actively in the international meetings that they have on different proposals to improve the quality of the magazine”.

Finally, regarding the benefits obtained for teaching, he expressed that professors must seek research that trickles down to the students, and that one of the reasons why universities like UDLAP remain in the vanguard and maintain their quality is that the knowledge offered to students is not only basic information but also new one; and in this case being part of the committee has advantages because it gives him access to everything that is new in real time and the experience acquired is very extensive.

UDLAP Graduate Obtains the Charles Darwin Award in Psychology

Havana, Cuba. Angélica Castro Méndez, a recent graduate from Universidad de las Américas Puebla, presented her thesis on metabolic syndrome before the experimental psychology group of the Inter American Society of Psychology (ISP), earning the Charles Darwin Award for young researchers in experimental and compared psychology.

A few months ago, the UDLAP graduate went to San Diego, California to present the first advances of her thesis, about morphological changes in different parts of the brain due to metabolic syndrome in animals, before the world’s most important congress on neuroscience. Then she attended the XXVII Interamerican Society of Psychology congress to present the second part of her project, which will be transcendental due to the results.

“We analyzed the CA1 hippocampus, dentate gyrus and prefrontal cortex layer 3 for their implication in memory, attention, and decision-making. We found that there is a decrease in arborization of the dendritic length when comparing obese and healthy [animal models],” explained Angélica Castro, who added that samples were taken of three strains: one diabetic and obese, the other with predisposition to both syndromes, and one that was relatively healthy.

With this project, the UDLAP Honor’s Program graduate earned the Charles Darwin Award by demonstrating that there is cognitive damage in memory, attention, and decision-making deficiency in living beings who are obese, an important result for the world. “I am very happy, satisfied and proud, as well as thankful to all the people who have been involved and have supported my project”, expressed the former UDLAP Clinical Psychology student.

This award was given during the XXVII ISP Congress, where Castro Méndez gave a ten-minute presentation before a jury of international members who gave their verdict due to the validity and importance that it has for the psychology field. Besides the award, this encounter with colleagues allowed her to meet people from all over the world and propose different projects. “Among the people I met were several doctors and post-docs. For example, I met a student of neuropsychology from Brazil and several presenters from Chile. This created an environment of collaboration that may lead to a stay in their labs or to carry out joint research”, she said.

It is important to mention that this work is a team effort with noted researchers like Dr. Rubén Vásquez-Roque and Dr. Julio César Penagos Corzo, both UDLAP faculty. This is the second occasion that a graduate from Universidad de las Américas Puebla receives the Charles Darwin prize for young researchers. In 2017 Sofía Navarro Báez achieved it in the pre-graduate category for her work Mindfulness Effects in Amplitude and Latency of P1 During Affective Priming Tasks.

The Licenciatura in Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering is Internationally Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry

The Licenciatura in Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering at Universidad de las Américas Puebla has been accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry. We are the only institution in the world to have received this accreditation for a nanotechnology program, confirming the top-level education that we provide, graduating young professionals who are prepared to face all types of challenges.

“This accreditation is an international recognition for the Licenciatura in Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering; it was awarded by the Royal Society of Chemistry for five years,” commented during an interview Dr. Eugenio Sánchez Arreola, Academic Director for the Department of Chemical Biological Sciences at UDLAP. He explained that such accreditation is granted to universities that have programs with relevant areas of chemistry at the licenciatura or master’s level. “Only two institutions in Mexico are accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry; and UDLAP is the only one to receive this recognition for its nanotechnology program, which makes us the only program in the world to be accredited by this organization” added Dr. Sánchez.

For the Royal Society of Chemistry, one of the most important organizations in the field, to grant this award to Universidad de las Américas Puebla we had to meet high-quality standards in students, faculty, facilities, libraries, labs, information technology resources, and others. “We met the requirements by giving information regarding the study program, the way we teach classes and evaluate students, and the resources and infrastructure that we have,” explained the academic director.

Dr. Miguel Ángel Méndez Rojas, coordinator of the nanotechnology and molecular engineering program, and the person responsible for the accreditation process before the Royal Society of Chemistry, stated that the process was very rigorous and required the active work and collaboration of all members of the department for a period of six to eight months. Achieving this accreditation “is a recognition of the quality of the program, but mainly it allows us to access teaching and research resources through the Royal Society of Chemistry, which is one of the oldest and biggest scientific societies in the world. This accreditation will allow our students, after completing their licenciatura studies, to be accepted in the best graduate programs in the world.”

The Licenciatura in Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering started in August 2006 and has 128 alumni in its nine generations, which makes it a pioneering program in Mexico and Latin America in this area. This accreditation reaffirms the university´s commitment to train young people who can propose innovative solutions to the needs of national and international industry and research centers.

UDLAP Faculty Members Participate in the Meeting of the Mexican Association of Professors of the German Language (AMPAL)

Ulrike Sperr and Patricia Lanners Kaminski, professors of the Languages Department at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, participated int he 14th Meeting of the Mexican Association of Professors of the German Language (AMPAL) at Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas (UNACH) in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, sharing their experience in teaching German.


In this edition, the Mexican Association of Professors of the German Language A.C., an NGO founded in 1992 to promote training and updating for German professors in Mexico, had as its main topic teaching German to children, young people, and adults in the digital era.  The UDLAP faculty members gave a lecture about the history of the Center for Language Learning (CAL), the use of apps, social networks, and websites for learning inside and outside the classroom.


“The lecture I gave with Patricia was on how German has been adapting to the new implications of the digital era.  I spoke about the history and purpose of the Center for Language Learning (CAL)” said professor Sperr who also remembered how CAL has evolved through the years in the way it teaches and works.


For her part, professor Lanners explained in this lecture the use of apps and how she has worked with them during her teaching career. “For example, we shared and showed our students how we use Blackboard, social networks and other apps, both inside the classroom and out.  Through social networks we see how to ask something or say something in specific dates, we talk about topics we saw in class and thus make them learn outside the classroom,” she added.


Professor Sperr, who has been a member of AMPAL for 18 years, and which she led for a time, also delivered a second lecture related to her research topics, but on this occasion it was about a case study on the difficulty of German for children who grow up bilingual in a Mexican environment.


Finally, professor Lanners expressed that these meetings are very important in the academic professional formation. “Academic meetings are really important. I usually go to several during the year, since it is a space to exchange ideas, learn new things or see if what you are doing is correct or not, and so you build a network with people who do the same thing that you do. That is priceless”.


The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Announces New Grant Winners for Mexican and United States Institutions

The United States State Department, The United States Embassy in Mexico City, Partners of the Americas, and the Mary Street Jenkins Foundations announced the grant winners for the most recent Innovation Fund contest.


The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the flagship educational initiative of the American State Department in the western hemisphere. Its purpose is to maximize the benefits of the commitment made by the public and private sectors, regional governments, and higher education networks to increase academic mobility, student exchanges, training programs, strengthen regional cooperation in education, and foster the development of the work force in the American continent.


The Innovation Fund inspires universities and institutions in the United States to associate with higher education institutions in Latin America and create new exchange and training opportunities. The associations create links and provide students with vital access to new training programs to work in teams, acquire technical and language skills, solve real world problems, and be better prepared for the modern work force.


From its start in January 2014, the Innovation Fund has awarded 211 grants to teams from 385 higher education institutions in 25 countries and 43 American states.  Mexico is the leading country in this initiative, forming dynamic alliances with American institutions and universities to give students access to academic exchange programs in both countries. To date, 19 Mexican states and 24 American states benefit from these associations.


The winners of this first contest sponsored by the Mary Street Jenkins Foundation are eight new associations between sixteen universities and colleges in the United States and higher education institutions in Mexico. These alliances will offer exchange and training programs to students from both countries in social sciences, humanities, archeology, anthropology, technology, and education.


John Creamer, the Business Attaché at the United States Embassy in Mexico, said that “education exchanges and academic mobility are a fundamental element of our bilateral relations, best expressed as a collaboration to finance programs such as the Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholarship and Jóvenes en Acción. What makes 100,000 Strong in the Americas work so well is the dedication that American and Mexican institutions put in working together to benefit students and professors in both countries, as well as the donations from the private sector, such as the Mary Street Jenkins Foundation, to give them the resources to succeed.”


Roberto Jenkins De Landa, representing the Mary Street Jenkins Foundation, stated: “Our family has followed during generations what my grandfather, Don Guillermo Oscar Jenkins, entrusted us, which is to continue contributing to support education in Mexico. We are proud to have joined this public-private effort, led by the United States Government, to make possible these international education experiences for students and Mexicans, through the support of the Innovation Fund. We will continue our commitment to this effort.”


The Innovation Fund grants are normally USD$25,000 each to implement new exchange and training programs for students.


The Innovation Fund grants sponsored by the Mary Street Jenkins Foundation will go to: Georgia Gwinnett College, in Georgia, USA and Universidad Iberoamericana, in Mexico City, Mexico; Salem State University, in Massachusetts, USA and Universidad de Guanajuato, in Guanajuato, Mexico; State University of New York (SUNY) Broome Community College, in New York, USA and Universidad de Celaya, in Celaya, Mexico; University of Alabama, in Alabama, USA and Universidad de las Américas Puebla, in Puebla, Mexico; University of Arkansas, in Arkansas, USA and Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, in Puebla, Mexico; University of Illinois at Chicago, in Illinois, USA and the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, in Morelos, Mexico; University of New Mexico, in New Mexico, USA and Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, in Puebla, Mexico; University of Northern Iowa, in Iowa, USA and Universidad Marista de Mérida-Yucatán, in Yucatán, Mexico.

UDLAP Students Obtain First Place at Congress in London

  • At the 28th Edition of World Congress on Nursing Education & Research three research projects were presented.

Rosario Guadalupe Ramírez Machorro and María del Rosario Ramírez Machorro, sixth-semester students of the Licenciatura in Nursing at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, participated in the 28th Edition of the World Congress on Nursing Education & Research, held in London. They presented three research projects related to nursing, and one of them obtained first place.


“At this congress, representatives from several countries participated to discover advances in health practices, management, and education.  Doctors, nurses, health professionals, professors, and students participated,” explained the UDLAP student Rosario Guadalupe during an interview. She also commented that the countries that were represented in this congress were Spain, Saudi Arabia, Italy, New Zealand, and “us, as the only Mexican representatives.”


Likewise, she mentioned that to participate in this congress they had to meet certain requirements: 1) Be university students; 2) The research presented had to be their own, under the supervision of an academic director, who in this case were Dr. Corina Mariela Alba and professor María de las Mercedes Nuri Reyes; and 3) Send an abstract of the research in November. They were accepted to attend the congress in January.


Regarding the research project that won first place at the 28th Edition of World Congress on Nursing Education & Research, María del Rosario said that it´s entitled A Group of Common Interest. A new teaching method. “This research comprised a meeting of a group of students whose interest was based on a specific nursing topic, either a scientific article or a poster. We thoroughly discussed it under the supervision of two UDLAP faculty members who also led, improved, and moderated the information,” explained María del Rosario, who also stressed that the reason this research won first place at the congress was because it raised the question among the participants about how students attended these sessions voluntarily.


Finally, both UDLAP students said they are proud to have participated in this congress, mainly because they won first place with one of their posters and because they were the youngest participants at the event. “The other people who attended had master’s or doctoral degrees,” mentioned Rosario Guadalupe.

UDLAP Faculty Member Takes Her Knowledge to Russia

  • She participated in the Ninth Fire and Explosions Seminar.

Dr. Adriana Palacios Rosas, a research faculty member of the Department of Chemical, Food, and Environmental Engineering at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, was invited to participate in the Ninth Fire and Explosions Seminar in St. Petersburg, Russia.


“The meeting I attended was the Ninth Fire and Explosions Seminar in St. Petersburg, Russia. I gave a lecture, which they deemed relevant, entitled Industrial Fires and Nuclear Reactors in which I explained how those two topics are related,” the UDLAP faculty member commented during an interview.


Delving into this topic, Dr. Palacios Rosas explained that this is a preventive measure to avoid accidents at nuclear plants. “What happens in reactors is that when they begin to have problems, they generate large quantities of hydrogen within the reactor, causing the tanks that contain it to be unable to hold it and exploding, thus producing accidents as fires or dispersion of radioactive materials into the atmosphere. Taking this into account, this project suggests ventilating the hydrogen tanks in a controlled manner using torches and thus keeping the tanks from becoming saturated with gas and exploding.”


She stressed that this prevention measure has not been used.  “It is still being studied. We joined what we know about fires with what we know about nuclear reactors. We took advantage of this seminar to present the project; there were different comments, especially that this course of action would be very costly because before ventilating the tanks, the hydrogen would have to go through membranes to remove radioactive products, which is expensive,” she stated.


Finally, Dr. Palacios Rosas said that this seminar is held every three years.  “I received the invitation because I belong to the Combustion Institute, which is an international organization. To attend this meeting, I had to send my proposed topic a year ago. They accepted the project and I had to send a detailed article, which was reviewed and finally selected.”