UNESCO-L’Oréal Fellowships, 2012

© Julien Chatelin / CAPA Pictures for the L’Oréal Foundation

The UNESCO-L’Oréal International Fellowship programme was created in 2000 to encourage promising women who are working in the life sciences at the doctoral or postdoctoral level. Fifteen International Fellows, three from each UNESCO region, are chosen to continue their research in prestigious institutions outside their home country. The Fellows gain important experience and build networks they can share with others on returning home.

Since 2011, the International Special Fellowship '... in the footsteps of Marie Curie' is awarded annually to a former International Fellow who, since receiving her fellowship 10 years ago, has demonstrated excellence and determination in the pursuit of her career in research.

International Special Fellowship ‘... in the footsteps of Marie Curie’

© Melanie-Jane FREY/CAPA pour L'Oréal-UNESCO

Recognizing commitment and achievement at mid-career

Mounira Hmani-Aifa
UNESCO-L'Oréal International Fellow 2002
L'Oreal-UNESCO Special Fellow 2012
Associate Professor in Human Molecular Genetics at the Faculty of Sciences, and Scientific Researcher at the Centre of Biotechnology, Sfax

When Mounira Hmani-Aifa of Tunisia won the International Fellowship in 2002, she used it to do postdoctoral research in human genetics at the Faculty of Health Science in Linköping, Sweden. Back in Tunisia, she continues to study the genetic origins of hereditary deafness in the laboratory directed by Professor Hammadi Ayadi. In addition, as a part of a bilateral project between Tunisian and Swedish teams, she started a new genetic study on posterior microphthalmia, a rare hereditary disorder affecting the eyes.

UNESCO-L’Oréal International Fellows

Encouraging young scientists

The 15 UNESCO-L’Oréal International Fellows for 2012 were chosen for the excellence and feasibility of their proposed projects and for the potential impact of their research on the lives of human beings or the environment. Two of the fellows come from countries represented for the first time this year, Bolivia and Namibia.

Among a wide range of research topics in the domains of health, environmental protection and the potential pharmaceutical uses of indigenous plants, one major research trend that stands out this year is the emerging field of glycobiology, which holds out hope for the development of new antibiotics unlikely to encounter problems of resistance.

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