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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Science running through her veins



By Arailaisy Rosabal García / Radio Cadena Agramonte.

When Niuvis graduated in Microbiology from the University of Havana in 2008, she was faced with a tremendous dilemma: accept the tempting job offer at the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine, or return to her native Camagüey, where she had a home and family waiting for her. Nor is it that geographic fatalism has played such a trick on her. "If I had the possibility of working in a biotechnology center, which is, in short, the dream of every biologist and microbiologist, why assume the sacrifice of a rent and family separation". 12 years after that decision, there is not the slightest regret.

The CIGB of Camagüey, she confesses, has given her the opportunity to fully develop as a professional. She began working in the Research area, specifically in the development of Hebernem, an ecological bionematicide that favors the growth of crops. Her role in that project, was to try to genetically transform the bacteria that is the active ingredient in the product. And although this is a pending purpose, important results have been achieved.

The Technological Development Group was his next destination. There she became involved in the production of a vaccine against sea lice in salmon and the protein of the PORVAC vaccine against classical swine fever, one of the great prides of Cuban genetic engineering and biotechnology.

Since 2016, this now 35-year-old woman works in the Microbiology Laboratory of the CIGB Camaguey, of which she is now the head, and in which the quality control of all the productions of the center is undertaken.

"In a profession like mine, and in Biotechnology in general, a lot of study, perseverance and improvement is required, because the entire industry is regulated, and we must be on a par with these provisions because our products are exportable."

All this is told quickly, but for Niuvis Montoya it has meant many extras: working after hours, including nights and weekends, being a mom of two children. But she has always had the support of the family in that sense.

In 2019 Niuvis had the opportunity to travel to China to pass on his knowledge in Hebernem quality control to specialists from the Heber-Shandong Lukang joint venture, where Cuban personnel work permanently. She says that her presence there was surprising, and it is that, "although in Cuba it is not uncommon to find female scientists, they, whose society has many macho traces, were greatly amazed by the professional quality of Cuban women."

This is exactly what that girl has become who, unlike most, preferred to play plants and animals rather than dolls; that it was not until 12th grade that, still uncertain, she opted for the only Microbiology position that was offered for Camagüey. The same that was not captivated by the charms and the possibilities of professional development of the capital, and that today, 12 years after arriving at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology of Camagüey, prestige, like many other young people, that institution. (Photos: Screenshots and taken from Fb. Profile of the interviewee)