The Santiago Center has been able to take advantage of the solid and strong body of Columbia University’s scientists by reaching out and inviting them to travel to Chile to disseminate their work, establish collaborative work with local counterparts and recruit post-doc students to work with them in their Campus’ labs. In early 2014, three top-Columbia scientists travelled to the country to participate in events co-organized by the Center, Universidad de Chile’s Neuroscience Institute (BNI) and the National Senate. They were Charles Zuker, Nobel-Laurate Richard Axel, and the Chairman of the Department of Biochemestry & Molecular Biophyisics Tom Maniatis. In 2015, it co-organized a symposium and workshop on mechanobiology featuring Columbia’s Julio Fernández and Michael Sheetz.
The Center has established close-working relationship with the University’s Earth and Environmental Engineering Center by hosting Nickolas Themelis, an expert on Waste Management, and Vasilis Fthenakis, who spent a week in Chile working with local partners on studying the prospects for solar energy development.
Another key area of joint-collaboration between Columbia and Chilean scientists was opened by the Engineering Research Seed Grant Program jointly created in 2015 by the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) and Universidad Católica’s School of Engineering. In its first stage, it benefited five teams of researchers from both institutions, covering topics such as Synthetic Biology and Microbiome Engineering Applications for Health; Electrotherapeutics for Musculoskeletal Tissue Repair Regeneration; and Multiscale Modeling of Nodular Casts. As part of that program, in early 2017, a team of scientists from the SEAS’ Biomedical Engineering Department spent several days in Chile working with their colleagues at Universidad Católica thanks to a grant from the President’s Global Innovation Fund (PGIF).