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Capstone Project Day 1

A panoramic view from the rooftop garden at CISeAL.

Human Red Blood Cells with Sporozoites stained purple taken at CISeAL.

Today was the first day in Ecuador. Breakfast was some unusual but delicious fruit and toast with coffee. Dr. Fabian Saenz picked us up from the Airbnb and drove us to CISeAL. The Centro de Investigación para la Salud en América Latina is a beautiful and high-tech complex in Cubayzá, Ecuador. CISeAL is at the forefront of vector biology, studying Chagas disease and malaria. After two semesters studying malaria in a book, I was finally able to see the parasite through a microscope. I was able to identify Plasmodium falciparum parasites in the trophozoite (ring stage) and gametocyte stages in its life cycle. The P. falciparum appears purple in the stain along with pink human blood cells.

For lunch, we visited El Palacio de la Fritada (The Palace of Fry). I had a dish called Mote con chicharron. Mote is a bed of white corn with the biggest kernels I’ve ever seen. Chicharron is pork fried crispy. It was pretty good with a little hot sauce.

Chicharrones con mote.

Back at CISeAL, the PUCE crew; Fabian, Sofía and Claudia discussed our plans for field study next week. We think we’ll be staying in the city of Pedernales, just a little way south of the study site, Chamanga.

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