Six decades of scientific pan-Americanism - an interview with Jorge E. Allende
Published: 20 August 2020
Miguel L. Allende*
FONDAP Center for Genome Regulation, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Jorge E. Allende is a biochemist trained in the United States of America who has been a professor at the University of Chile since 1961. He has served in many leadership positions in both Chilean and international scientific organizations and academic institutions. He led the International Cell Research Organization, the Latin American Network of Biological Sciences and obtained the Chilean National Science Prize. He belongs to the Chilean Academy of Sciences and is a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) and also of the National Academy of Medicine (USA). During his career, besides leading a highly successful research group, he was instrumental in generating an esprit de corps among Latin American scientists of all fields in biology starting in the late 1960’s. He began a longstanding tradition by organizing advanced training courses for young scientists from the region who would not have otherwise had the opportunity to experience the latest methods and concepts in biological research, courses that had world leading researchers as instructors. A constant focus of his efforts consisted in promoting the establishment of postgraduate programs in biology throughout the continent, coordinating international funding programs aimed at scientific development in the third world and, more recently, advocating for science education among children and school teachers as the only way to achieve scientific literacy in our societies. In this interview, we explore how these issues were addressed by him and his counterparts in other Latin American countries, at a time when they had to start, essentially, from scratch.
Chile, science education, Latin America, biochemistry