"Whether a country, company or individual will succeed depends on their ability to understand and apply changes in technology.
Nations that forcefully defend the status quo eventually disappear. Nations that adapt and use new technologies survive, and often become the dominant powers in their regions.
Only with education, with ideas, and with enterprising people, does a country create wealth and stay united.”
Juan Enríquez Cabot
The Challenge of Mexico: Technology and borders in the 21st century
Created to promote and foment national sustainable economic growth through technological innovation
To drive national technological development and sustainable economic growth by taking a leading role as a Science, Technology and Innovation Institute.
To become Mexico’s leading science, technology and innovation Research Institute, serving as an incubator and originator of technology and innovation focused towards socioeconomic benefit
To attract top Mexican talent from around the World, and to develop Mexico's human capital and scientific and technical capacities to:
collaborate with public and private sectors to generate world-class technologies in the field of biotechnology and biomedicine and make Mexico a leading country in this field
find technological solutions to one of the most important problems facing humanity -- the disposal of plastic products -- so that Mexico can effectively join the global efforts in the generation of new biodegradable materials and solutions
We are a group of Mexicans with multiple nationalities, dedicated to driving scientific and technological progress in Mexico by establishing and promoting a world-class centre and programme for biotechnology and biomedicine in Yucatan.
We named the Mexican Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI) after the eponymous and world-renowned Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), which was central to Korea’s “miraculous” rapid and sustained economic growth from a foreign aid-dependent nation into a developed nation and G20 member within a single generation.
MISTI seeks to be that same engine of growth for Mexico that KIST was for Korea. We will inject Yucatan with technological and scientific capacity by offering world-class international training programs, connecting key actors in the public and private sectors, and bringing cutting-edge technology and international talent, to produce technology and innovation, always geared towards improving well-being, generating employment, and propelling economic growth in Mexico.
MISTI will focus on the biotechnology sector in its initial phase, specifically structural biology and chemistry, mass spectroscopy and integrated computer models for intelligent drug design and the production of deeply innovative medicine.
Our aim is for the Yucatan Peninsula to become a world leader in biotech, and, eventually, an innovation hub for Latin America, developing other sectors such as robotics, renewable energies and nanotechnology, and becoming the Mexican “California” or “Silicon Valley”.
MIST has teamed up with scientists at the Universities of Pittsburgh, Stanford and Oxford who believe in the great potential of Yucatan to develop a world-class biotechnology hub
There is now a wide and growing consensus that humanity has entered the most disruptive era in its history because of accelerating technological change and the emergence of artificial intelligence. Its effects could allow Mexico to overcome its perennial challenges, make leapfrogs forward in its development and well-being, and fulfil the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda.
However, they may also pose great risks, such as extreme and worsening inequality, mass unemployment, and the collapse of our systems of government. These opportunities and challenges are as urgent to address, and the consequences of not doing so are at least as imminent and devastating, as predictions of climate change.
If Mexico is not to be left behind, it must put science, technology and innovation, at the center of its development agenda, instead of simply accepting change being imposed from outside.
This is where the MISTI comes in:
Our plan is to foment Yucatan’s and Mexico’s technological capabilities by establishing and promoting an educational, scientific, medical and technological cluster in Merida, Yucatan. We will combine state-of-the-art facilities and world-class talent, with long-term “patient” finance from national and international sources, as well as the public and private sectors, to train local and national talent, attract scientists, engineers and doctors from all over the world, and achieve synergies with other research centers to generate cutting-edge research and innovation.
Our aim is to make Mexico a global leader in biomedicine and biotechnology.
"Creativity in science, as in art, cannot be organized. It arises spontaneously from individual talent. Well-run laboratories can foster it, but hierarchical organizations, inflexible bureaucratic rules, and mountains of futile paperwork can kill it. Discoveries cannot be planned, they pop up, like Puck, in unexpected corners."
Main Scientific Activities
MISTI’s three (initial) areas of focus:
Smart drug design
We use computational approaches to discover, create and analyse drugs and relevant biological molecules.
The structures of molecules and proteins can be modeled and simulated with specialized structural biology programs, and tools such as artificial intelligence to accelerate drug discovery and better identify the individual compounds that are most likely to succeed in clinical trials.
MISTI is based in Merida, Yucatan, with a view to transforming the area into a world-class technology and innovation hub. We have devised a parallel strategy to develop a center of excellence in biotechnology and biomedicine, and in time (over the medium and long term) to create spin-off research centers in fields such as: robotics, energy, and nanotechnology.
Our first phase strategy is as follows:
Academic Exchange Programs
Create academic exchange programs with local, national and international academic institutions to offer MISTI scientists access to specialised, world-class training and equipment
Scientific Advisory Board
Set up a Science Board made up of leading scientists, including Nobel prize winners, to oversee and guide our science strategy, but also to attract international interest and funding
Centre for Structural Biology and Chemistry
Establish a state-of-the-art centre for electron microscopy and mass spectroscopy that will focus on:
Smart drug design
Establish a research hospital with a centre of excellence in Oncology, HIV / AIDS, and gene therapy
Establish a bioremediation and recycling centre supported by cutting-edge original research
MISTI has teamed up with local charities and is committed to working with local communities to promote education, and provide new opportunities for children of all backgrounds
"Biotechnology and biomedicine, have the potential to propel Mexico to the World’s technological elite and produce game-changing technologies for public health and the environment, as well as economically."
Why Structural Biology and Chemistry?
Molecular visualization at the atomic level allows scientists to ascertain the three-dimensional structure of proteins, or biological and chemical materials.
These structures can then be modified to optimise them or to design new molecules, which may impact the biological function of proteins of pharmacological interest.
Mexico has the opportunity to become a World Leader in this field.
Applied research, and technology derived from it, can be commercialised in the short and medium term so that it has a real-world socioeconomic impact.
Locating MIST in Yucatan, one of the most diverse tropical areas in the world, allows access to soils rich in bacteria and "biosynthetic" content, which can be used in drug discovery and design
This is important as these improved or new functions can help solve practical and urgent medical and environmental problems (e.g. contributing to the treatment of cancer, HIV and AIDS, tropical diseases, and bioremediation solutions).
This is a relatively incipient field, with great potential to revolutionize the fields of medicine, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and bioremediation, especially in Mexico where progress in these fields has been very limited.
Our co-founder and Head of Research, Guillermo Calero, who was part of the team that won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2006, is a world-class expert in this field and currently runs a high-tech biochemistry lab at the University of Pittsburgh.
We have the support of such outstanding academic centres as Pittsburgh, Stanford and Oxford, which are globally-recognised leaders in this field.
Yucatan has abundant natural wealth and is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth. Its rainforests have soils rich in bacteria and "biosynthetic" content that can be used for research including drug discovery and design.
MISTI founding team
Agustín Velázquez Garcia Lopez
Our general director is widely recognized as the leading intellectual property lawyer in Mexico: he is the general manager of Ava Law Firm, and is an expert in Intellectual Property, Patents, Registered Trademarks, Copyright and Knowledge Transfer.
Dr. Guillermo Calero
Head of Research
Our Head of Research is a medical doctor and award-winning scientist with over 30 years experience. He’s a leading expert in structural biology and smart drug design, and was in the team that won the Nobel prize for Chemistry in 2006. He currently runs a world-class research lab at the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. José Ramón López-Portillo Romano
Our president, was an Undersecretary of State in Mexico, ambassador to, and independent president of, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. He is an expert in technological change and its socioeconomic impact, President and co-founder of the think tank 'Q Element’, co-founder of the Centre for Mexican Studies at Oxford University. He was recently appointed by the Secretary General of the UN as one of the 10 experts of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism to support the UN’s Sustainable Goals.
Head of Marketing
Antonio Tamayo has over 30 years of business and marketing experience in USA and Latin America, and is the founder of consulting firm Tamayo & Asesores. He is an advisory board member of Trout & Partners Mexico, where he was previously a Senior Partner of Strategic Business, and has 20 years experience managing communications projects at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, where he was President and CEO of its Latin America region.
Antonio writes articles and gives lectures on marketing and crisis management.
Head of Operations
Our head of operations, a former operations consultant and head of operations at a technology startup, is the Director of Q Element, a think tank associated with the University of Oxford and the Nuffield Medical Department, that specialises in technology and public policy.
Pedro Rodríguez Reynaga
Head of Corporate Affairs & DirCom
Pedro is a Mexican Communicator passionate about Business Development and Marketing. He is an active trainer and consultant with international projects in Mexico, the United States of America, Latin America and Spain. With more than 12 years as a professional, he has provided around 5,000 hours of consulting, training for national and international individuals as well as companies. He has produced more than 1,600 commercials and designed marketing strategies for more than 11,000 stores.