We Speak Science (WSS) is a non-profit science education institute, established in 2014 by Dr. Detina Zalli (Harvard University) and Dr. Argita Zalli (Imperial College London). It has a mission to enhance science education in developing neighborhoods throughout the world whereby science education is severely lacking. In October 2015, WSS launched a competition for the best science poster. 1256 undergraduate and graduate students participated in WSS competition from all over the world among these: USA, UK, Italy, Macedonia, France, Greece, Finland, Netherlands, Albania, and Kosovo. The posters were judged by scientists and lecturers in Harvard University. Although the level of the participants was very high and the covered topics were very interesting, one student from Albania stood out with the quality of her works.
A Fourth year medical student from the Catholic University “Our Lady of Good Counsel”, Laura Peri, received the first price. Her research project was titled “Diabetic Pregnancy and Fetal Consequences”. In her Research in Durres Hospital, Peri and her team (Dr. Migena Prifti, Adriana Banaj, Ahmet Murati, Klea Troka, Pranvera Ramadani, Fatjon Hajdari, Vedat Sunguri, Besiana Zekaj,) found that diabetic pregnancies had severe consequences on neonatal babies. In fact, babies of diabetic pregnancies showed cardiac anomalies, neural tube defects, and respirational problems among other anomalies (Peri et al., 2015). Laura Peri explains “This is not surprising given that in pregnancy, there is an inevitable sharing of maternal nutrients through transport via the placenta, and changes in the maternal system affect the fetal plasma composition. If the mother has high glucose levels (hyperglycemia), excess glucose is shunted into the fetal system. This will results in a variety of fetal, neonatal, and postnatal consequences for the offspring including birth defects. It is thus, very important to raise awareness of diabetic pregnancies to avoid life threatening complications for mother and the baby.
When asked about the difficulty of research, Laura humbly replied: “Research is a big passion of mine, and if you are passionate about science, no matter how hard or difficult it gets, nothing can stop you. You work extra hard, and hard work always pays off. Passion and hard work together are an essential key that open the doors to success.” She also highlights the importance of teamwork, “I also have to thank my wonderful team, for their continued support and enthusiasm, even when things did not look positive. We never stopped believing and we all did it. Without them, this would not have been possible.