May 27, 2022

From Sex Toys To Developing New Ways To Treat Underlying Causes Of Severe Genetic Diseases: The Latina Tech Giants

Isabel Aznarez, Ph.D is the Co-Founder of Stoke Therapeutics, a science-based company that develops new and precise ways to treat the underlying cause of severe genetic diseases by precisely upregulating protein expression.

They can develop a treatment for diseases affecting the central nervous systems, eye, liver, and kidney through protein upregulation.

Aznarez, who holds a Ph.D. in medical and molecular genetics from the University of Toronto and a B.Sc. in biology and human genetics from the University of Uruguay, launched the firm back in 2014 with Professor Adrian Krainer, Ph. D.

She is one of many Latinx tech giants you’ve never heard of but you need to know.

Dr. Aznarez and Professor Krainer began working together in 2008 at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. They share a passion for addressing genetic diseases, and also share a common heritage, as both were born in Uruguay.

But they aren’t the only one’s contributing to society through tech.

Isabel Aznarez, Ph.D 

Powered by Latinas: the Tech Giants You Need to Know

Polly Rodriguez

Polly Rodriguez used her personal experience is going through radiation treatment for cancer at the age of 21 to catapult her next professional move, co-launching UnBound in 2014.

Unbound is a health and pleasure toy company that makes purchasing sex toys a more enjoyable experience. Radiation treatment brought upon early onset menopause, which meant Rodrigeuz’s sex drive was very low.

At the suggestion of a friend who was a nurse, Rodriguez went to go buy her first sex toy but didn’t like how the experience left her feeling. “It was weird to me that no one was selling these products to women in a way that made the customer feel good. And that always stuck with me,” Rodriguez explained to Refinery29.

Asked why she then went to make it a business, she said: “Every woman I’ve ever talked to has a terrible story of the first time they tried to buy a vibrator. But, on a more personal level, I realized how underserved female sexuality is both in the marketplace but also from a societal perspective when I went through cancer at the age of 21.

“I had to go through radiation treatment which then catapulted me into menopause. None of my doctors warned me; they just said, ‘Oh, you’ll never have children.’ So I ended up on the Internet, literally googling: ‘radiation treatment never have children.’ That was how I found out that I was going through menopause.

Christina Morillo 

Christina Morillo has been dubbed the queen of the online security game.

Previously the Vice President of Technology and Information Risk at Morgan Stanley. In her current role, as Principal Security Consultant, Christina leads the Microsoft Cloud Security Service offering focused on helping organizations improve their cloud, identity, and security posture.

In addition to her enterprise security work, Christina is working as a co-creator for the first diverse stock photo collection of Women of Color in Tech Stock Photos which was co-created in 2015 and seen all over the world and web since.

She is also the author and editor of 97 Things Every Information Security Professional Should Know, published in 2021.

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.