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Yanet Villasana

Professor at the Universidad Regional Amazónica IKEA, Ecuador


Entrepreneur, Researcher, and Scientific Advisor. Professor at Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam, Ecuador since 2015, and Postdoctoral Researcher at Universidad de Carabobo since 2024. Co-founder of the Biomass to Resources Group, Biomass Laboratory, and Graduate School at Ikiam.

Research interests: environmental chemistry, pollution, biomass valorization, process intensification, catalysis, materials, and petroleum. Holds a Doctorate in Science from Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas and a B.Sc. in Chemistry from Universidad de Carabobo, Venezuela.

Committed to higher education, focusing on interdisciplinary and scientific education for Latin American youth, with an emphasis on gender and interculturality. Actively supports women's initiatives in STEM as a member of OWSD, REMCI, and 500CientíficasEC. Currently, project manager for a sustainable tourism, scientific research, and nature conservation project in the Venezuelan Caribbean.


Eduardo: Please tell us about yourself, your research area, and why you decided to focus your research on process intensification.

Yanet: I am a chemist and doctor in science, specializing in environmental chemistry. My research involves designing materials from agricultural residues to reduce pollution in soil, water, and air. Working in the Amazon jungle, I focus on process intensification to develop simple, small-scale technologies suitable for remote or resource-limited areas, benefiting local and Indigenous communities.

Eduardo: Do you see any barriers or challenges to overcome to make science more inclusive for women?

Yanet: Policies alone are insufficient without societal support and practical implementation. Women, especially mothers or caregivers, face challenges balancing responsibilities due to biases and insufficient support. In Latin America, policies are limited, and biases persist, making it difficult for women in science. Continuous dialogue and community involvement are essential to achieve true equity.

Eduardo: What advice would you give to your younger self as an early career female embarking on this path in academia?

Yanet: Don't be afraid to ask for help and build a supportive network of colleagues, mentors, friends, and family. Open yourself to learning from mistakes, be genuine, and seek mentorship. Building a team around you can reduce stress and anxiety, allowing for a better quality of life and more time outside the lab.

Eduardo: What has been your most important achievement in the context of process intensification?

Yanet: My most important achievements include establishing a biomass laboratory, forming a research group, and creating a graduate school. These efforts aim to empower my community and students, providing high-level education and impactful research to solve local problems. Transforming education into powerful tools for community well-being is immensely rewarding.

Eduardo: Do you have a final message to share?

Yanet: Spaces like this to discuss the work of women in science and engineering are vital. Our research has direct impacts on community well-being. I encourage young women to pursue careers in science to contribute to their communities and the planet. You don't need to be a genius, just work hard and enjoy the process. This investment of time and energy is very rewarding.

Interview with Yanet Villasana