Principal Investigator

Diana Vanegas, PhD

Assistant Professor

Food Engineering Department

Universidad del Valle, Cali-Colombia

My research seeks to engineer solutions to technological challenges related to food and agriculture in settings of low resource and marginalization. I am interested in integrating and adapting technologies to support sustainable food and water systems, and my program spans Latin America (Colombia) and China. I focus on problems of specific low-income communities, and work in transdisciplinary teams to create customized solutions that take into consideration the particularities and complexities of each local context. 

Ongoing Research/Extension Projects

1. Participatory implementation of alternative agricultural practices in confined spaces affected by agrochemical contamination. Funding Source: Universidad del Valle. Implementation Site: El Tiple (Valle). 2017-2019.

2. Adaptable hydroponic systems for urban food production in marginal neighborhoods of Cali. Funding Source: Universidad Santiago de Cali. Implementation Site: Distrito de Aguablanca (Cali). 2016-2019.

3. Encouraging Family Agriculture and Traditional Practices by Afrodescendant Women in Valle del Cauca. Funding Source: Women’s World Banking Foundation, Implementation Site: El Tiple (Valle). 2018-2020.


4. Synoptic and participatory assessment of environmental pollution and health effects due to exposure to mercury from artisanal gold mining in the Alto Cauca basin, Colombia. Funding Source: IHE-Delft Global Partnership for Water and Development, Implementation Site: La Toma (Cauca). 2019-2021.



"The knowledge that we are contributing to building a better world must be the highest of human aspirations"                                       -Dr. Hector Abad Gomez

Funding generously provided by:


Recent Publications

  1. Velez-Torres, I., Vanegas, D.C., McLamore, E.S., Hurtado, D. Mercury Pollution and Artisanal Gold Mining in Alto Cauca, Colombia: Women’s Perception of Health and Environmental Impacts. Journal of Environment and Development, in press. DOI: 10.1177/1070496518794796. 

  2. Abdelbasir, S., El-Sheikh, S.M., Morgan, V.M., Schmidt, H., Casso-Hartmann, L.M., Vanegas, D.C., Velez-Torres, I., McLamore, E.S. (2018). Graphene-anchored cuprous oxide nanoparticles from waste electric cables for electrochemical sensing. ACS Sustainable Chemestry & Engineering. in press. DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.8b02510.

  3. Vanegas, D.C., L. Patiño, C. Mendez, D. Alves de Oliveira, A.M. Torres, E.S. McLamore, C. Gomes (2018). Low-Cost Electrochemical Biosensor for Detection of Biogenic Amines in Food Samples. Biosensors Journal, 8(2). DOI: 10.3390/bios8020042.

  4. Vanegas, DC., Gomes, C., Cavallaro, ND., Giraldo-Escobar, D., McLamore, ES.(2017). Emerging Biorecognition and Transduction Schemes for Rapid Detection of Pathogenic Bacteria in Food. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 16(6): 1188-1205.


Thanks for your interest in the Technology Appropriation Lab. For more information, feel free to get in touch and we will get back to you soon!

Tel: (+57) 2 3212100 Ext. 7036

Academic crew visits community garden in the Aguablanca District, Cali-Colombia

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