By Abdi Ali
Published March 16, 2016
The international scientific community is set “to celebrate five exceptional women scientists and their groundbreaking work” on March 24, 2016.
Also to be honoured during the 18th edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards to be held at the Grand Amphitheatre of the Sorbonne in the French capital, Paris, shall be “15 promising young researchers.”
The women are to be recognised for their various discoveries that are offering solutions and answering questions in the face of unprecedented global challenges.
The five Laureates who shall each receive a Prize of €100,000 to reward their contribution to science, according to their region and contribution, are:
1). Africa and the Arab States
Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim
CAPRISA, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
For controlling the spread of HIV.
“Professor Abdool Karim’s research has empowered women to help prevent HIV infection in Africa.”
Professor Hualan Chen
Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Harbin, China
For protecting lives from deadly Flu viruses.
“Thanks to her research, the world has been protected from pandemics through innovative vaccines.”
3). Latin America
Professor Andrea Gamarnik
Molecular Virology Laboratory, Fundación Instituto Leloir, Conicet, Buenos Aires, Argentina
For limiting the spread of Dengue Virus.
“Professor Gamarnik’s research has the potential to control the spread of the disease.”
Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier
Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, Germany
For re-inventing genetic research.
“The gene editing technology developed by Professor Charpentier has the power to ‘rewrite’ DNA.”
5). North America
Professor Jennifer Doudna
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, United States
For reinventing genetic research.
“The gene editing technology developed by Professor Doudna has the power to ‘rewrite’ DNA.”
For Professor H Blackburn who heads the Jury, the “2016’s laureates bring an extraordinary vision and immediate solutions to major human health issues, encompassing HIV, avian flu or dengue fever and have revolutionized genome editing, enabling precise ‘rewriting’ of the DNA genetic code. All their careers are exceptional, their discoveries truly new, and they epitomize top-level research.”
Since 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme is said to have “honoured 92 distinguished Laureates and supported 2,438 greatly talented women for their outstanding accomplishments that contribute to making the world a better place.”
The five Laureates are said to have been “nominated by more than 2,600 leading scientists and then selected by an independent and international jury of 13 prominent scientists in the global scientific community.”
Professor Elizabeth H Blackburn, 2008 Laureate L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science, 2009 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, is this year President of the jury and the first woman to be at the head of the Jury in the history of the Awards.