About Us

Scientists Against Fake News (SAFN) is an initiative led by a group of international medical doctors, virologists, immunologists, science students, and science communicators who combat COVID-19-related fake news by providing scientifically accurate information about this topic. The SAFN team answers common questions made by the community, compiles and summarizes the latest scientific research, and debunks common COVID-19 myths and false information spread through social media. 

 

SAFN’s main goal is to inform you about the science behind the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, developments with regard to the virus’s biological features, and clinical studies of the vaccines. This can help you make informed decisions for your health and for the health of the people around you.

 

SAFN only provides information that is supported by scientific research. Our information will be available in multiple languages and anyone can ask us questions via our website, which we will answer on the site and share via our social media platforms. 

Scientist

Editorial Team

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Dr. Nilda Vanesa Ayala Nunez (Virologist)

Dr. Ayala graduated in Biology from the Universidad de las Americas, Puebla (Mexico). She then worked at the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (Mexico), where she studied the antiviral and antibacterial activity of silver nanoparticles against pathogens like HIV-1 and multidrug resistant bacteria. A few years later, she moved to The Netherlands, where she obtained a Ph.D. degree in virology in 2014 from the University of Groningen. Dr. Ayala later joined the INSERM U1110 in Strasbourg (France) to pursue her interests in viral pathogenesis with Zika virus and HIV-1. Nowadays, she works as a Scientist at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

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Dr. Armando Andres Roca Suarez (Virologist)

Armando Andres Roca Suarez, M.C. Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow at the Cancer Research Center of Lyon (CRCL). Dr. Roca attended medical school at the Catholic University of Bolivia. He subsequently received the degree of doctor in virology from the University of Strasbourg, for his work regarding the alteration of cell signaling pathways implicated during chronic HCV infection and the development of liver cancer. His research is currently focused on the development of new therapeutic strategies against chronic HBV infection.

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Dr. Maartje Wouters (Immunologist)

Dr. Wouters obtained her undergrad and Master’s degrees in Biomedical Sciences (majors in pathobiology and toxicology) from the Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She obtained her PhD in tumor immunology at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands for her research on the immune response in ovarian cancer. Dr. Wouters continued her research career as a postdoctoral researcher in cancer immunotherapy at BC Cancer in Victoria, Canada. Currently, she is a freelance medical and science writer for various academic institutions and biotech.

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Dr. Silvia Torres
(Virologist)

Silvia Torres, Microb. Ph.D. is an associate director in Good Clinical Practices Quality Assurance at one of the world’s leader pharmaceuticals. Dr. Torres attended Microbiology and Clinical Chemistry school at the Universidad Industrial de Santander (Colombia). She subsequently received a double PhD degree in virology from the University of Antioquia, Colombia (cum laude distinction) and in medical sciences from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Dr. Torres’ doctoral work focused on the innate immune response to Dengue Virus and its immunopathogenesis mechanisms. Her current work focuses on the quality assurance aspects of Clinical Trials, the protection of patients’ rights, and the integrity of its data.

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Dr. Mariana Ruiz Silva

(Virologist)

Dr. Ruiz Silva studied a BSc in Pharmaceutical and Biological Chemistry at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).  She then obtained a MSc in Medical and Pharmaceutical Drug Innovation at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. At the same University Dr. Ruiz Silva’s research on the innate immune response to dengue and chikungunya virus (co)infections resulted in a PhD in Virology. Currently, she works at the University of New South Wales in Australia using genome sequencing to track SARS-COV-2 transmission.

Design & Illustrations Team

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Tania Castillo

Tania Castillo Pelayo (M. Arch, B.Sc.) is a former microbiologist turned Intern Architect, who is passionate about biophilic architecture, healthy buildings, and environmental design. She volunteers as graphic designer for TEDxYYC and other worthy organizations, and makes parametric art for fun.

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Christina Nowicki

Christina Nowicki is a PhD candidate at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Here, her previous research focused on the use of viral and bacterial vaccines as immunotherapeutic agents in cancer treatment. Currently, her research works to understand how breast cancer is impacted by estrogen metabolism in the gut microbiome.

Guest Contributors

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Dr. Julia Brinkmeier

(Biochemist)

Julia Brinkmeier, Ph.D., obtained her M.Sc. degree in Molecular Biomedicine from Copenhagen University. Afterwards, she received the degree of doctor for her works on the structural and biochemical characterization of the meiotic and somatic Topoisomerase VI and its potential accessory factors in the brown algae, Ectocarpus siliculosus, at the Institute of Human Genetics in Montpellier. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Max-Planck- Institute for Developmental Biology.

Student Contributors

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Alejandra del Cármen

My name is Alejandra del Carmen Castilla Hernández, I am 22 years old and I am in my last year of Clinical Biochemistry at the Universidad de las Americas-Puebla (Mexico). I consider myself a happy and curious person, full of interest in science and what happens around me. I decided to join this great team because I consider misinformation one of the greatest enemies of science, because it does not bring anything good and causes doubts about it. I hope that our contribution helps people to follow the path of truthful and secure information.

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Andrea Torres Razo

My name is Andrea Torres Razo, I am 22 years old and I am studying the eighth semester of Clinical Biochemistry at the Universidad de las Americas-Puebla (Mexico). I like to learn while listening to people, so I am an admirer of those who have that ability to transmit their knowledge to anyone. I decided to be part of this project as I am concerned about the misconception of science today and the misinformation that is being spread. My goal is to be able to help people understand what is currently happening and how to best deal with it.

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Catterina Minutti Zanella

My name is Catterina Minutti Zanella and I am a Marketing student at the Universidad de las Americas-Puebla (Mexico). I am passionate about social networks and the different ways that exist to transmit messages through these platforms to publicize world issues of great relevance. I am excited to contribute and participate in this activity as a volunteer, knowing that we will help the public to identify Fake News to which they are exposed and inform them through social networks with verified, real and understandable information.

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Claudia Minutti Zanella

My name is Claudia Minutti Zanella and I am a student of Clinical Biochemistry at the Universidad de las Américas-Puebla (Mexico). I am passionate about microbiology and immunology, and I am fond of scientific dissemination for society. I firmly believe that disclosure is a way to build trust and credibility, promoting knowledge and transparency in society. I decided to get involved in this project because I am convinced that by fighting misinformation we will inspire the public to make the right decisions both in their health care and in the way they seek, read, question and share information on a daily basis.

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Denisse Quiroga

My name is Denisse Quiroga Mora, I am 23 years old and I am a student of Clinical Biochemistry at the Universidad de las Americas-Puebla (Mexico). I have a lot of interest in the area of molecular biology, hematology and microbiology. I consider myself responsible and empathetic. I tend to be communicative and I am very interested in continuing to expand my knowledge. I decided to join this project because, currently, fake news is a very big social problem that is misinforming the population and affecting health, it is necessary to try to combat the ignorance generated efficiently and, moreover, in a simple way for the audience .

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Elena del Carmen Altamirano Torres

My name is Elena del Carmen Altamirano Torres. I am 21 years old, I am a young Mexican who enjoys transmitting the knowledge I have acquired. I course the sixth semester of the degrees in Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemical Biologist at the Universidad de las Americas-Puebla (Mexico). I decided to get involved in this initiative in order to build a society that is better informed and interested in going to reliable sources of information. I am very excited to be part of this great project and to be able to contribute to this situation that affects us all.

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Esteban Tovar López

My name is Esteban Tovar López. I am a Bachelor's student in the last year of Clinical Biochemistry at the Universidad de las Américas Puebla, UDLAP (Mexico). I am passionate about understanding and conceptualizing the mechanics of the various processes that exist around the cell, so the areas that I enjoy the most are molecular and cellular biology. I firmly believe that combating disinformation is one of the best strategies to deal with the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and that the Scientists against Fake News group it is a great way to address it.

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Laila Mariana Esquivel Saavedra 

My name is Laila Mariana Esquivel Saavedra, I am 20 years old. I am a young Mexican who is interested in knowing more and more about the scientific advances that occur every day. I am currently in the sixth semester of a degree in Clinical Biochemistry, at the Universidad de las Américas Puebla (Mexico). I made the decision to get involved in this project in order to provide the entire society with the best, accurate and trustworthy information. I consider essential the dissemination of scientific advances, as well as the recognition of people who provide relevant information for science and health.

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Maricarmen Salas López

My name is Maricarmen Salas López, I have a degree in Biology from the Universidad de Las Américas Puebla (Mexico). My main interest is the study of the human microbiome and its relationship with mental illness. One of my passions is the popularization of science, which is why I decided to join this group. I believe that translating scientific information into a language accessible to all audiences is a quality that every scientist should develop, since science must be available to everyone. The Scientists Against Fake News group is a great example of this effort.