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El Mundo Boston 2018.

GUILLERMO ULISES RUIZ-ESPARZA

Medical Doctor and Researcher Harvard/MIT

Heritage: Mexican
Age: 28

 

Past Recognitions:                                    

  • National Youth Award in Science and Technology from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, 2016

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts from Great Britain, 2015

  • Named one of the “Gifted Citizens” by Singularity University of Silicon Valley and CDI, representing one of the 30 top global innovators with projects that will impact more than 10 million lives in the next years, 2014

  • Personal invitation and discussion with Prince Charles of Wales (Great Britain), 2014

  • TR35 Award by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Technology Review, as one of the top innovators under the age of 35 in Mexico, 2014

  • Mention by the Inter-American Development Bank as one of the top young leaders in Latin America, 2014

  • Research, work and awards have resulted in media coverage over 300 times worldwide including Television, Radio, Magazines and Newspapers, 2014-2016

 

By: Frank Morris

 

Heart failure is the most expensive pathology of the health care system worldwide. At the terminal stage, it kills more people than all cancers combined. There is no cure for it — aside from heart transplants (of which there are not enough) — and it is the No. 1 cause of hospitalizations across the globe. Guillermo Ulises Ruiz-Esparza is working to do something about that.
 

The 28-year-old Mexican native and Cambridge resident is a medical doctor and researcher, considered a pioneer in the field of cardiovascular nanomedicine. His work, his colleagues say, has played an integral part in the development of new nanotechnologies — small injectable robots — for the treatment of heart failure.

Ruiz-Esparza explains: “We’re doing these kind of nanorobots — very, very small robots that are even smaller than a cell — that can be loaded with therapeutics, genes or drugs — and injected into medicine that can go into your bloodstream and can go to a specific site in the body.”

Such technologies have been applied mainly to cancer in the past 30 years, he said. “What I did, basically, is show you can use nanotechnology in heart failure.”

Ruiz Esparza is still optimizing his cardiovascular nanotechnologies in animals before they can be tested on humans, but his work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Google his name and you’ll find he’s been covered by the media more than 300 times.

 

His work has also drawn attention from dignitaries from across the world. In 2014, he was personally invited to meet with Prince Charles of Wales to discuss medical innovation and the challenges to increase access to medical technologies in the world. In 2016, he was awarded the National Youth Award in Science and Technology by Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto.

The young doctor leads the Innovation Group and Molecular Diagnostics and Nanotherapeutics Subgroup at the Biomaterials Innovation Research Center, part of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is the youngest person at Harvard to lead such a group.

“In the case of my field, I can say the best hospitals in the field are right here in Boston. Living in Boston is a great environment,” said Ruiz Esparza, who moved to Massachusetts in 2015 after living in Houston for four years. “I think the people here are willing to take risks to change the world. I’ve found a lot of like-minded people, who really seem willing to do things to help people, to impact the community.”

Currently, Ruiz-Esparza is developing low-cost diagnostic devices that he hopes to make available to low-income communities and, “hopefully save lives.” These $1 portable tests would allow people to test for tuberculosis without the presence of a doctor. The devices, he said, could also be altered to test for others diseases.