Read about Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, Ph.D., in the February 2001 issue.
Carnegie Institution of Washington
After finishing high school in Venezuela, Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado headed to America, dead set on becoming a molecular biologist. But there was a big problem: He didn’t speak a word of English. So he moved to Tennessee, figuring no one there would speak Spanish and forcing him to become bilingual.
Now he’s trying to conquer another challenge: unraveling Nature’s secrets about how animals regenerate lost body parts after injury. Sánchez Alvarado looks for the answer in tiny flatworms that, when sliced into tiny pieces, regrow into perfectly formed new worms. He has developed a method that lets him track regenerating cells as they divide and roam throughout the animal to create new body parts.