Ana Vázquez Pagán has been in the African country since last year on a scholarship for people interested in global health.
Scientist Ana Vázquez Pagán was in eighth grade when she lost a close family member who was pregnant during the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) or swine flu pandemic. The event scarred her, and that death planted a question in her mind: "How could this have happened?
At the time, Vázquez Pagán did not plan to pursue a career as a researcher. It wasn't until she was 17, when she participated in a nanotechnology camp at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), that she considered becoming a scientist.
Over the years, that question remained with her.