*The VII Scientific Conference of Medical Technology Students awarded interdisciplinary work realized in the CEFOP-UdeC laboratory of Photoacoustic and Photothermal methods, guided by Dr. Renato Saavedra.
The enthusiasm and ease to learn of the four students in their fifth year studies in Medical Technology surprised Dr. Renato Saavedra, principal investigator of our Center and who led Gloria Araya, Arlette Riquelme, Josefa Salgado and Mauricio Cid in the work, “Photoacoustic Infrared Spectroscopy with Fourier transform (FTIR-PAS) as a tool for identification of Candida species” in which the research stage was developed in the CEFOP-UdeC laboratory of Photoacoustic and Photothermal methods.
This research, presented at the VII Scientific Conference of medical technology students, where more than 300 students and professionals of the area attended, received the award for best work of the Conference, being noted for its innovation to apply optical techniques to identify species of yeasts. This recognition pleasantly surprised the CEFOP-UdeC researcher who commented, “for the laboratory, and the Spectroscopy Photoacoustic line, this type of exchange is fundamental because we are working in a multidisciplinary system, where each one brings their contribution. The insight that these young people can give is important; in their own way they offer a vision that one does not have. Therefore, sharing with professionals and students in other areas is very rewarding for us,” said Dr. Saavedra.
Professor Nancy Rivera, M.Sc. in Science with specialization in clinical microbiology and a Professor of this team, also stressed the importance of this project, which brought together different disciplines: “This type of collaboration shows that it is possible to achieve better results when working together than when working in isolation, and a better scientific contribution can be made.”
This fruitful collaboration was born, in part, by pure coincidence. In a tutorial research course, students were looking for a researcher, and a group of them had already worked with Dr. Renato Saavedra, who in turn, investigated for a time strains of Lactobacillus, a bacteria that is part of the flora that helps to acidify its environment.
Contribution as objective
The research proposes the use of optical techniques as an alternative to traditional laboratory methods used so far. The students indicated that results were encouraging, since each spectrogram showed different spectral bands, associated with functional groups, assigning spectra in the presence of the analyzed structure of macromolecules. Thus, the conclusion is that FTIR-PAS is quick, easy and non-destructive to the characterization and molecular differentiation of unicellular fungi, specifically with yeasts of the genus Candida in freeze-dried samples.
Gloria Araya and Arlette Riquelme shared that in their search for an idea for research work, the proposition appeared to study microorganisms through a completely new method for them. “Before this and with various ideas raised, with their respective objectives, we moved toward the possibility of developing this proposal, accepting our teacher’s offer to work with students of the Clinical and Imaging Laboratory, and Medical Physics. With this innovative idea, we considered that this small research would, somehow, contribute to the study, discrimination and the subsequent identification of pathogenic microorganisms, agents which, in the area of Microbiology, are of great importance in the search for better and more effective methods of diagnosis and therapeutic treatment.”
For the young students, the development of collaborative and multidisciplinary work is a plus when it comes to research, “since knowledge and skills are not always dominated by one person, or area, so by sharing different views, as in this case, it makes the work and research in particular more enriching; fruits that go beyond academic formation, but which also allows for greater and better professional development-a good that is not only personal, but that is also a contribution to people and to their health, through the union of physics, statistics, and microbiology.”
Dr. Renato Saavedra pointed out that he wants to continue the work developed with the students of this area. “We want to continue working in Medical Technology. The experience we have had with them is that they are very skillful and learn quickly, so now we will receive three young students with studies in Clinical Analysis, to train them. Then, next semester, we will have them working in the laboratory.”