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Nelly Ramírez-Corona

Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Mexico


Nelly has a PhD and Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Instituto Tecnológico de Celaya, and a Degree in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala.

She has directed thesis of Bachelor and Master in Chemical Engineering, and has participated as director and co-director of thesis of PhD in Chemical Engineering and PhD in Food Science. She has publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented her work in national and international scientific forums. She is currently a member of the National System of Researchers (SNI) Levell 1. Her line of research is focused on the area of chemical process engineering, food processing and engineering education and she is working on technological innovation projects with different industries.

What she enjoys most about teaching is the interaction with students and encouraging them to learn autonomously.

Since 2007, she has been a full time research professor in the Department of Chemical, Food and Environmental Engineering at the School of Engineering of the Universidad de las Américas Puebla, where she is also Academic Coordinator of the PhD program in Food Science.

She is currently the President of the Mexican Academy of Research and Teaching in Chemical Engineering (AMIDIQ).


Eduardo: Could you please tell us a little about yourself, your research area, and why you decided to focus on process intensification?

Nelly: Thank you, Eduardo. I am a professor at Universidad de las Americas Puebla in Mexico. My doctoral research involved the design of thermally coupled distillation systems. Subsequently, I explored control aspects of these systems, evaluated new solvents like ionic liquids for extractive distillation, and designed CO2 capture systems. In the past decade, I have collaborated on a PhD program in food science, applying my background to extractive distillation for bioactive compound extraction using innovative solvents, and exploring emerging technologies such as ultrasound, microwaves, and UV radiation for liquid food processing. My interest in process intensification stems from its holistic approach and the potential to leverage advanced tools and technologies across various fields.

Eduardo: What barriers or challenges do you see in making science more inclusive?

Nelly: Key barriers include socioeconomic challenges, cultural and gender biases, lack of female role models, and limited access to research funding. Many individuals, particularly in countries like Mexico, lack educational opportunities due to pressing socioeconomic issues. Additionally, there is a noticeable decline in female representation at higher academic levels. Research funding often favors established institutions and researchers, hindering young and female professionals. Recognizing the contributions of female researchers is essential for fostering an inclusive environment.

Eduardo: If you could give advice to your younger self as an early career female in academia, what would it be?

Nelly: I would advise my younger self to be open to all opportunities and broaden her worldview, recognizing the interconnectedness of academic and personal development. Engaging in networking early, learning from experts, and developing teamwork skills are crucial. This approach could help navigate the challenges faced in academia and beyond.

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

Nelly: My most significant achievement in process intensification is the application of its principles to the food processing field, in collaboration with food science experts. Additionally, I take pride in mentoring a new generation of female researchers, with over 60% of my graduate students being women, contributing to greater gender equality in scientific research.

Eduardo: Do you have any final comments about women in science?

Nelly: Despite significant progress, challenges remain in achieving gender equality in science. Encouraging and supporting women in science is essential, as is recognizing their contributions. Efforts like this special issue are vital for fostering an inclusive scientific community.

Interview with Nelly Ramírez-Corona