LUSARA stands for "Laboratory and Salvation Unit for Arthropods, Reptiles and Birds" (in Spanish). When first founded in 1978, LUSARA was a homemade laboratory in a 6 x 9 ft room -the result of Carlos Amabile's teenage dream of investigating and caring for sick and injured animals. As Carlos's interests matured, however, LUSARA's focus shifted, and by 1986, the lab was mainly concerned with the study of microorganisms. But the name LUSARA stuck. When submitting what would be LUSARA's first published work to a local congress, Carlos realized he needed an affiliation, and LUSARA surfaced as the best choice.

The rest of LUSARA's lengthy name was added in 1995, during the legal constitution of the lab. Thus, the LUSARA Foundation is now in its fifteenth year of formal existence, and 22 years apart from its first paper published in a scientific journal.

In the beginning, LUSARA depended solely on home-made equipment: the motor of a blender served as centrifuge and vortex, a thermoswitch within an ice-box was an incubator, a power supply for a tape recorder was used for electrophoresis. An educational microscope and a handful of alcohol burners, completed the picture. Nevertheless, some of LUSARA's early results were described by Chemistry and Peace Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling as "important contributions".

LUSARA no longer depends on home-made equipment, having replaced it with state-of-the-art technology. But our ability to improvise is still very much alive, allowing us to face unexpected situations and tackle complex problems. The desire to do research above apparent limitations is LUSARA's driving force.