Laureates Announced for the 2012 L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards in Life Sciences

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science partnership announced the five women scientists from around the world who will receive the 2012 L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards in Life Sciences.

An international network of nearly 1,000 scientists nominates the candidates for each year’s awards and the five laureates are then selected by an independent international jury presided by Prof. Günter Blobel, PhD, who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1999.

Prof. Bonnie Bassler, PhD, a principle investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a faculty member with the department of molecular biology at Princeton University, is the 2012 laureate for North America. Bassler is an expert on how bacteria “talk” to each other using a chemical language in order to coordinate their behavior as a group.

Prof. Jill Farrant, PhD, the research chair in plant molecular physiology for the University of Cape Town's department of molecular and cell biology, was selected as the 2012 laureate for Africa and the Arab States. Farrant was recognized for discovering how plants survive under dry conditions.

Prof. Ingrid Scheffer, PhD, the chair of paediatric neurology research at the University of Melbourne, is the 2012 laureate for the Asia Pacific region. She was selected for her identification of genes involved in some forms of epilepsy.

Prof. Frances Ashcroft, PhD, a royal society research professor in the department of physiology, anatomy and genetics for Oxford University, was chosen as the 2012 laureate for Europe. Ashcroft was selected for advancing the understanding of insulin secretion and of neonatal diabetes.

Finally, the 2012 laureate for Latin America is Prof. Susana López, PhD, a faculty member in developmental genetics and molecular physiology in the department of the institute of biotechnology at the National University of Mexico. She was chosen for her identification of how rotaviruses cause the death of 600,000 children each year.

The Awards Ceremony will take place on Mar. 22, 2012, at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Each laureate receives US $100,000 in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of science.

Since 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards have recognized 72 laureates—women who have made great advances in scientific research, two of whom have received the Nobel Prize.

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