Thesis Award for research into improved vaccination against malaria

Angel Montero Carcaboso’s research work, “Lecciones nuevas con una vieja vacuna” (New lessons for an old vaccine) is the prizewinner in the Thesis Award Competition. The Users’ Award, on the other hand, goes to, Pedro Ilundain Aranburu’s work, “Producción de pinturas vinílicas y acrílicas ecológicas” (Production of ecological vinyl and acrylic paintings).

The Thesis Award Competition organised by the Basque Research portal has been judged. This year a total of 40 theses were presented for the Award and from these the adjudication panel unanimously chose Angel Montero Carcaboso’s work as the winner of the First Prize. The thesis was, according to the panel, the best presented work for publishing.

The adjudication panel took the following criteria into account in making their choice of winner: suitability and attractiveness of the title for the thesis, writing style, the clear presentation of the main points of the thesis, the effort made with technical terms and, finally, the interest shown in the topic being publishable in more than one language. Taking these criteria into account, the theses were awarded on a scale from 0 to 100 points, with special importance being given to writing style and the ability to communicate well the essence of the thesis, independently of the theme.

Angel Montero’s work, presenting research carried out on a vaccine for malaria, includes previous research in the field and the investigation procedure and results of the present study. The research was carried out at the Pharmacy Faculty on the Gasteiz campus of the University of the Basque Country. Thus, the First Prize of a laptop computer goes to Angel Montero Carcaboso!

Research to improve Patarroyo’s vaccine

Angel Montero carried out his investigation on a vaccine developed by the Colombian researcher Manuel Patarroyo. This had been developed in the 90s but the results of subsequent clinical trials were disappointing. As a result, the World Health Organisation withdrew their support for the vaccination research. The Colombian researcher then approached the University of the Basque Country with the intention of working on his improved SPf66 vaccine.

Here, Angel Montero worked on the enhancement of the medium used for the administration of the vaccine. This research soon revealed that changing the medium considerably augmented the affect of the vaccine. Moreover, he investigated new methods for administering the vaccine without recourse to a syringe. Thus administering the vaccine by and, moreover, the use of these new methods on the efficacy and potency of the vaccine were studied in animals. As a result, Angel Montero has introduced a number of improvements to one of the best-known vaccines for malaria.

Ecological paintings

The Users’ Award, on the other hand, was won by the chemist Pedro Ilundain Aranburu. This prize is awarded by the votes from Basque Research users. In this case, it involved a PhD thesis on the production of more ecological acrylic and vinyl paints. The winner receives a hydro (“thallasotherapy”) session and a gastronomic dinner for two as a prize.

Pedro Ilundain carried out his research at the Chemistry Faculty at the San Sebastian campus. This research involved obtaining paints which are less damaging to health and to the environment. More specifically, the researcher analysed the reactions in the synthesis of the paints. He proposed a number of improvements in the reaction process: on the one hand, an optimisation of the initiator systems of the reaction and, on the other, he developed a mathematical model for measuring the compounds which are left over without reacting and of the volatile compounds generated. The research thus involves direct industrial application given that it proposes methods for the production of more ecological paints.

Finally, the adjudication panel wishes to underline the public interest attributes of all the participating theses in the Basque Research Thesis Competition. The winning entries as well as all the other research projects can be viewed until the 1 July at www.basqueresearch.com.

The members of the adjudication panel were:

Aitziber Agirre Ruiz de Arakaute: Doctor in biochemistry. Producer and presenter of the science and technology programme TEKNOPOLIS.
Guillermo Roa Zubia: Doctor in chemistry. Science Editor of the magazine, Elhuyar Zientzia eta Teknika.
Eider Carton Virto: Chemistry graduate. Director of the magazine, Elhuyar Zientzia eta Teknika.
Garazi Andonegi Beristain: Technical Engineer. Director of the Basque Research portal.

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This subject area encompasses research and studies in the field of human medicine.

Among the wide-ranging list of topics covered here are anesthesiology, anatomy, surgery, human genetics, hygiene and environmental medicine, internal medicine, neurology, pharmacology, physiology, urology and dental medicine.

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