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Biofluids expert travels to India to share latest research on sickle cell anemia

Viviana Clavería, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Chile

Travel funded through Optica’s Traveling Lecturer program connecting leading scientists where they are needed most.

Viviana Clavería, a postdoctoral researcher at the Active Matter Physics Millennium Nucleus at the University of Chile, visited the Muhammed Abdurahiman Memorial Orphanage College (MAMOC) student chapter in Kerala, India, on 3 June 2022 as a traveling lecturer.

Claveria was invited by Saheer Cheemadan, the advisor of the MAMOC College student chapter in Kerala, India. In her talk, Claveria shared how Optica accelerated her career. During Claveria's two-week trip to India, she spoke with students and performed outreach activities in different institutions, from preschool to college. She met social organizations in Attappady to talk about sickle cell anemia, a highly prevalent disease in the Tribal sector.

"Optica never fails to surprise me about the extraordinary opportunities they offer like this one. We performed several outreach activities using the Optibox together with Cheemadan and the members of the Student Chapter. Students enjoyed "the tricks" so much; they learned science and had a lot of fun simultaneously," said Claveria.

Following her visit to MAMOC, she was invited by Dr. Muhammed Kutty, one of the student chapter professors, to give a seminar for tribal social workers from the Thambu organization in Attappady. The organization brings together more than 192 tribes who currently suffer from high rates of sickle cell anemia. During her seminar, Claveria informed the tribe members about the origin, prevention, research, and treatment of sickle cell anemia. The event was such as success that Claveria delivered the seminar again at two other government schools and two universities located in the Attappady and Mukkam sectors.

"The experience was extraordinary from a human point of view and scientific and cultural exchange. The need both to accelerate the fundamental understanding of diseases and their consequences, as well as to produce medical equipment that helps democratize the population's access to health, is an urgent and universal matter in which we must continue to advance," said Clavería.

Claveria's visits to the educational centers and her work with the sickle cell community were highlighted by media outlets in India, including The New Indian Express, Deepika Newspaper, Janathanet News, Mathrubhumi Newspaper, Patriotic Newspaper, and Mangalam Newspaper. She was also featured on the Kerala State Student Police Cadet website, highlighting her cutting-edge research and the work done by the student chapter, sponsored by Optica.

Optica's Traveling Lecturer program allows student chapters to host a guest speaker of their choice annually. To learn more about this opportunity, visit Traveling Lecturer.

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