Fellow:Diego Muñoz

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Sillicon Valley Meetup 2021, Stanford University

School: UTEC Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología
What he does now: Synthetic Biology research at UTEC, future Biotechnology founder and spreading science and entrepreneurship
What that means: Involved in building new products with biology that make the world more sustainable. Passionate about development education in emerging technologies in America Latina, especially biotechnology and Synthetic Biology.

Contact him about: Biotechnology, design, sustainability, k12 education, wellness and mental health, star wars or just to say hello!
Email: diego.munoz@utec.edu.pe

Diego Muñoz Neira is a Bioengineering at UTEC Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología from Lima, Perú.

During his first year as an undergraduate student, Diego participated in multiple engineering projects focused on social impact. One of the first project called "The Solar Kitchen". With this project, he won the project fair “Vivir la Ingeniería” UTEC in the category of Development and Product, and the third place in the Expo Energy Efficiency Award of Led Expo Peru in 2016. He also worked on a Radiant Wall to Andean Houses which was presented in Congress of Bioclimatic Architecture and Renewable Energies CABER 2016. During 2016, he was elected vice-president at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers UTEC. During this time, the branch won the Sustainable Growth prize.

Diego was trained as a University Innovation Fellows Program at Stanford University in Fall 2018, and attended the Silicon Valley meetup in March 2018. As a Fellow, he focused his work on the well-being and mental health. That is why he founded UTEC Puppy Lab, an organization that promotes mental health through canine interaction. In 2018 he was invited to give an Ignite at LOOP, also, he was part of the Bootcamp of the event where along with an interdisciplinary group worked on a solution for villagers living by the train rail. The solution was chosen as the best in its category. . This year, he participated in IDDS International Development Design Summit in Colombia, initiative created by MIT D-Lab to co-design low-cost solutions to challenges faced by people living in poverty around the world. That same year, he was a finalist in the Disrupton Amazonia contest at UTEC, where he built a prototype of mobile laboratory to collect plastic from the Amazon River and transform it into useful products. In 2019, Diego was selected to participate in IAP-MIT Design Technologies for Coffee Production in Colombia. They designed new technologies for agriculture with a team of students from Harvard and MIT and coffee growers. Continuing his local innovation work with communities Diego was certified as Trainer of Trainers CCB in Brasilia dictated by Amy Smith (Founding Director of MIT D-Lab). Also, he lead a STEAM educational project for children in Lis country to promote creativity and innovation.

During 2020, he developed a project on biomaterials from mushroom mycelium where he built a homemade incubator for the production of mycelium pieces as a sustainable alternative to polystyrene foam. In 2021, he participated in iGEM Global Synthetic Biology competition where he won the gold medal in the competition and was responsible for the construction and design of a low-cost Bioreactor. In 2022, Diego was selected as a member of the first cohort of the iGEM Youth Biodiversity Leadership Program and one of six iGEM delegates to attend the United Nations Biodiversity Conference COP15 in Montreal, Canada. Additionally, he was recently selected as a judge for the iGEM Global Competition held in October in Paris.

He currently works in the Synthetic Biology and Tissue Engineering laboratory at the UTEC University of Engineering and Technology, where he develops a system for CRISPR-cas9 editing and regeneration in Nicotiana species. He works on in vitro plant cultivation, molecular techniques, construction and evaluation of plasmids and genetic transformation. His goal in the coming years is to generate a positive impact on the lives of many people and the planet through biotechnology, as well as bring science and entrepreneurship opportunities for more people in Latin America and Peru.