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EMBASSY AND CONSULATE OF ECUADOR IN WASHINGTON DC CLOSED ON MONDAY OCTOBER 29TH DUE TO HURRICANE SANDY

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

For safety reasons due to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, the Embassy and the Consulate of Ecuador in Washington DC will remain closed on Monday, October 29.

Embassy of Ecuador

Washington DC

October 28, 2012


EMBAJADA Y CONSULADO EN WASHINGTON CERRADOS EL LUNES 29 POR HURACÁN SANDY

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Por motivos de seguridad ante el arribo del Huracán Sandy, la Embajada y el Consulado del Ecuador en Washington estarán cerrados el lunes 29 de octubre.

La SENAMI atenderá emergencias en el teléfono (347) 666 0398.

Embajada del Ecuador
Washington DC
28 de octubre de 2012


PABLO HOLLSTEIN – ENCUENTRA TU PASIÓN Y ALCANZA TU META

Friday, October 26th, 2012

El Dr. Pablo Hollstein, de 33 años de edad, forma parte de un selecto grupo de investigadores de la Escuela Médica de Harvard que investigan tratamientos de vanguardia contra el cáncer. El camino a Cambridge desde Quito, Ecuador, la ciudad donde él nació y creció, ha sido largo y a veces también difícil.

Cuando tenía 13 años, Hollstein y su familia dejaron Quito y emigraron a los Estados Unidos. Se establecieron en McLean, Virginia, en donde asistió a una escuela secundaria pública.

“Éste fue un cambio muy difícil, sobre todo el primer año, que fue una especie de ‘año de sufrimiento’ porque yo era joven, y no estaba seguro si este cambio era algo temporal o permanente. Tuve que adaptarme a una nueva cultura e idioma”, dijo Hollstein.

Durante su tiempo en la escuela secundaria, desarrolló su amor por la ciencia, especialmente biología. “A mí siempre me ha gustado hacer lo mejor en cada tarea, en cada trabajo, y en cada examen  de cualquier materia. Siempre me he empujado a mí mismo para hacer lo mejor que puedo, pero las ciencias eran algo especial. Tuve la oportunidad de comenzar mi trabajo de investigación en la secundaria mientras clonaba plantas”, explicó.

Cuando llegó el momento de llenar las solicitudes de universidad, Hollstein tenía dudas. Aunque le encantaban las ciencias, no sabía cuál era la mejor universidad para él, y por eso casi no postuló a Harvard, pero al final decidió postular y se graduó de esa universidad. “Me dije a mí mismo, ‘Yo no creo que pueda entrar a Harvard, es muy competitivo, muchas personas aplican. No veo por qué me elegirían a mi‘ “, explicó. Pero gracias a su consejero de la escuela secundaria, decidió aplicar a Harvard y MIT, junto con otras universidades. Para su gran sorpresa, Pablo fue aceptado en todas las universidades a las cuales aplicó. Después de mucha deliberación, decidió que la Universidad de Harvard sería la opción perfecta para él.

“Decidí ir a Harvard porque estaba llena de gente brillante, gente cuyos intereses eran diferentes a los míos, pero similares a la misma vez porque teníamos una pasión por algo en particular. Por eso elegí Harvard “, dijo Hollstein.

Hollstein obtuvo su licenciatura en bioquímica y después de terminar la universidad, mientras decidía si seguir una carrera en medicina o en investigación biomédica, trabajó durante un año en el Instituto Nacional de Salud (NIH) en Bethesda, MD, donde tuvo la oportunidad de compartir sus conocimientos con el Dr. Francis Collins, director del Proyecto Genoma Humano. Mientras trabajaba en el NIH, Hollstein llevó a cabo investigaciones para identificar los genes que causan la susceptibilidad a la diabetes tipo II, una enfermedad muy común entre la población hispana en los Estados Unidos.

Siempre he disfrutado las ciencias de la vida como la biología y mientras yo estaba en la universidad empecé a interesarme en la genética. Yo estaba muy interesado en conocer las causas de las enfermedades genéticas y cómo se pueden desarrollar terapias “, dijo.

Después de trabajar en el NIH por un año, Hollstein decidió regresar a la universidad y continuar una carrera de investigación en la Escuela Médica de Harvard, donde obtuvo un doctorado en ciencias biomédicas.

Actualmente, Hollstein es investigador en la División de Medicina Genética del Hospital Brigham and Women de la Escuela Médica de Harvard donde trabaja y  enfoca su investigación en el cáncer de cerebro y el sistema nervioso central, con el objetivo de entender mejor cómo las mutaciones causan el cáncer en las personas. Su objetivo es ayudar a desarrollar mejores terapias para tratar esta enfermedad. “Quiero enfocarme no sólo en lo que causa una enfermedad, sino cómo podemos curarla o tratarla con más cuidado”, explicó.

Para Hollstein, es muy importante hacer una contribución a su país natal, Ecuador. “Creo que hoy en día existe un gran interés de seguir avanzando en la ciencia. No sé lo que traerá el futuro, pero realmente me gustaría trabajar con la gente en Ecuador o tal vez tener un proyecto en particular que pueda desarrollar allí para seguir promoviendo todo lo que se puede hacer “, explicó.

Hollstein dijo que una de sus metas para el futuro es poder tener su propio laboratorio y su propio equipo para trabajar en su investigación de las enfermedades genéticas y la biología del cáncer. “Siempre hay algo nuevo que aprender”, agregó.

Hollstein es consciente de que la vida puede ser difícil y complicada, pero a pesar de todos los desafíos que él ha tenido que superar, sabe que todo es posible. “Sigan soñando, imagínense lo que realmente quieren hacer y háganlo. Siempre existirán obstáculos que tendrán que superar, pero siempre hay un camino. A veces es muy difícil, pero si ustedes tienen una meta o un objetivo lo podrán lograr. Sólo encuentren su pasión y van a lograr todo lo que deseen” concluyó Hollstein.


PABLO HOLLSTEIN – BE PASSIONATE AND GO FOR IT

Friday, October 26th, 2012

ESPAÑOL

Dr. Pablo Hollstein, 33, is among a select few researchers at Harvard Medical School working to help find cutting-edge new cancer treatments. The path to Cambridge from Quito, Ecuador, where he was born and raised, was a long and sometimes difficult one.

At the age of 13, Hollstein and his family left Quito and immigrated to the United States, eventually settling in in McLean, Virginia, where he went on to attend a local public high school.

“This was a very hard change, especially the first year which was kind of a ‘year of suffering’ because I was young, and I wasn’t sure if this was something temporary or permanent. I had to adapt to a new culture and a new language,” said Hollstein.

During his time in high school he developed his love for science, especially biology. “I’ve always wanted to do the best in every assignment, homework, and test for every subject. I’ve always pushed myself to do the best I could, but science was something special. I had the opportunity to start my investigative work while cloning plants in high school,” he said.

When the time to fill out college applications arrived, Hollstein was doubtful. Even though his love for science was strong, he was not sure which school would be the right fit for him, and almost didn’t apply to Harvard University, from where he eventually graduated. “I said to myself, ‘I don’t think I can get into Harvard, it is very competitive, lots of people apply. I don’t see why they would choose me’,” he explained. But thanks to his high school counselor, he decided to apply to Harvard and MIT along within several other universities. Much to his surprise, Pablo was accepted everywhere he applied. After much deliberation, he ultimately decided that Harvard University would the perfect fit for him.

“I decided to attend Harvard because it was full of brilliant people, people whose interests were different than mine but similar at the same time because we were passionate about something in particular. That’s why I choose Harvard,” said Hollstein.

Hollstein went on to obtain a degree in biochemistry, and after college, while deciding whether to pursue a career in medicine or in biomedical research, he worked for a year at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, having the opportunity to share his knowledge with Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the Human Genome Project. While working at NIH, Hollstein conducted research to identify the genes that cause susceptibility to Type II Diabetes, a particularly common disease among the Hispanic population in this country.

“I’ve always enjoyed life sciences such as biology, and while I was in college I became interested in genetics. I was really interested in what were the causes of genetic diseases and how therapies can be developed,” he said.

After his year at NIH, Hollstein decided to return to school and pursue a career in research at Harvard Medical School, eventually obtaining a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences.

Currently, Hollstein is a Research Fellow in the Medicine Division of Genetics, at Brigham & Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School working and focusing his research on brain and central nervous system cancer, with the goal of better understanding how mutations cause cancer in people. His goal is to help develop better therapies to treat this disease. “I want to focus on not only what causes a disease, but how we can treat it more gently,” he explained.

His fellowship at Harvard Medical School ends this year, and Hollstein’s immediate plans are to apply for another fellowship at a new institute where he can continue his research on cancer. “I just started looking, and I am considering New York, California, and Texas where cancer research is among the best in the world,” he said.

For Hollstein, it will be very important to contribute and give back to his home country of Ecuador. “I believe nowadays there is a big interest to continue advancing in science. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I would really like to work with people in Ecuador or maybe have a particular project that I can develop there to continue promoting all that can be done,” he explained.

Hollstein said that one of his future goals is to be able to have his own laboratory and team to work on his research of genetic diseases and cancer biology. “There is always something new to learn,” he added.

Hollstein is aware that life can be hard and complicated, but despite of all the challenges he has overcome, he knows that anything is possible. “Keep on dreaming, imagine what you really want to do and go for it. There will always be obstacles that you will need to overcome, but there is always a way. Sometimes it is very hard, but if you have a goal or an objective you can achieve it. Just be passionate about it and you will accomplish whatever you want.” Hollstein concluded.


EDUARDO TORRES-JARA

Friday, October 26th, 2012

ESPAÑOL

Dr. Eduardo Torres-Jara, 40, developed his love for technology as a child in Ecuador. His parents encouraged him and provided him with tools to expand his knowledge and interest. “I’ve always liked technology. I was always building machines and robots with my Legos,” says Torres-Jara. “My dad always owned the newest calculators and computers– those were my toys.” Today, Torres-Jara still builds his own toys, except now they are not simple Legos, but rather one-armed robots equipped with artificial skin and intelligence.

Dr. Torres-Jara was born and raised in Cuenca, Ecuador, where he lived with his parents and two younger sisters. He attended Colegio Tecnico Saleciano High School, where he learned about electricity, carpentry, and mechanics. Later, he attended the Escuela Politecnica del Ejercito (ESPE) in Quito, where he studied and graduated with a degree in Electronic Engineering. “I always wanted to study electronics, but I also wanted to combine it with mechanics, computers, neuroscience and artificial intelligence,” says Torres-Jara.

As he graduated from college, robotics and artificial intelligence technology was in the midst of a revolution, led by Professor Rodney Brooks from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “When I learned about Brooks and the way he was changing things I just loved the idea and I said to myself, I have to go there, and I decided to apply to MIT.” Torres-Jara said he only knew about MIT from reading about it in one of his father’s Reader’s Digest magazines.

Torres- Jara’s acceptance to MIT was a long process. To begin with, MIT accepts only about 10% of the best applicants in the world. Then, after overcoming the odds and being accepted into MIT, a postal strike in Ecuador almost caused him to lose his full scholarship, “I remember that while I was in the application process, there was a postal strike in our country; lots of letters and packages were delayed, others never arrived. I thought I did not qualify for a scholarship, so if that was true I wasn’t going to be able to attend MIT even if I got accepted” he explained. Eventually, however, he finally enrolled as an MIT student with a full scholarship, working directly with his idol Professor Brooks.
“If you have an objective, you cannot give up. Plans will change, but you have to follow your dreams. Sometimes you will find it hard, but the key to success is to not give up, just keep on going,” said Torres-Jara.

During his time at MIT, he studied artificial intelligence and sensory manipulation while working towards his Master’s and PhD degrees. He explains that artificial intelligence makes machines much more advanced. An example of this is embodied intelligence, which studies how intelligence emerges as a result of sensorimotor activity, constrained by the physical body and mental developmental program.
“Imagine that at nighttime a person wakes up and tries to find the TV remote without looking and only by touching and having an idea of where that remote can be- this idea applies to my robots,“ he said. Torres-Jara took this idea and began to conceptualize for his PhD thesis a robot with the ability to manipulate objects simply through the use of touch sensors. As a result of his work, Obrero was created.

Obrero is a one-armed robot with artificial skin on its fingertips and palm that can not only sense the presence and magnitude of forces applied to it, but also the direction from which those pressures are being applied. For example, if a glass bottle were to start slipping out of a robot’s hand, the artificial skin would tell the robot how the bottle was falling and allow it to recover its grip before the bottle fell to the floor.

Obrero was funded by the Swedish company Asea Brown Boveri (ABB), a leader in technology, and by NASA. “When we initially talked to ABB, they said that robots can do very few of the tasks that a human worker can accomplish without any effort. Therefore, I realized I needed a robot capable of manipulation. I named it Obrero because the word robot in Czech means worker, and worker in Spanish means Obrero,” he explained.

In robotics research, there are typically groups specially dedicated to improving robots’ physical attributes, another to improving controls, another to developing software, and a final group to make sensors. Often, these groups work and function independently. Torres-Jara notes that his research has begun to change this model. “In my approach, physically represented by Obrero, all groups were considered at the same time, and that is why such changes were achieved.”

For his work, Torres-Jara was recipient of the highly regarded 2011 NASA Tech Brief Award. His future goal is to be able to have his work touch more people. “There is a saying at MIT that ‘we want to change the world’. Currently, I am in the process of changing the world in academic places. But I want to influence a country, a region. I want to expand myself,” said Torres-Jara.

He believes that his home country of Ecuador has the potential to develop innovative technology but that there is a need for clear objectives where all interested parties work together towards a goal. “We have capable people and natural resources. We don’t have to wait long periods to produce local technology- there are daily necessities that can be fulfilled with local technology,” he stated.

Currently, Torres-Jara is a Professor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He was also an Invited Speaker to the 2011 Japan-America Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. His hobbies include meditation, cooking, and martial arts, and when he has time, he enjoys going out with his friends. For all his achievements, Dr. Eduardo Torres-Jara is an example of Ecuadorian human talent.

“I don’t consider myself a role model; I’ve just done the best I could. We should look for what makes us happy and for the most important things in our lives, and when we do that, we should focus and get them,” he concluded.