16th Annual L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science - 2014
Each year, five outstanding women scientists – one per continent – are honoured for the contributions of their research, the strength of their commitments and their impact on society. Each woman represents a unique career path combining exceptional talent, a deep commitment to her profession and remarkable courage in a field still largely dominated by men.
The research of the 2014 Laureates demonstrates exceptionally original approaches to fundamental research. Awardees honored for major scientific advancements that are helping solve some of society’s greatest challenges, including cancer, depression and addiction.
On the evening of 19 March 2014, the five laureates and 15 international fellows for the 2014 edition received their L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards during a ceremony held at the Sorbonne University in Paris (France). The ceremony was presided over by Professor Günter Blobel, 1999 Nobel Prize in Medicine, in the presence of Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and Jean-Paul Agon, Chair and CEO of L’Oréal and Chair of the L’Oréal Foundation.
Candidates for the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards were nominated by a network of more than 1,000 international scientists. The five Laureates were then selected by an independent jury chaired by Professor Günter Blobel and composed of twelve eminent members of the international scientific community.
Professor Brigitte Kieffer– Neurobiology
Professor, University of Strasbourg, France; Research Director, Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC), Illkrich, France; Scientific Director, Douglas Institute Research Center, McGill University, Montréal, Canada
Named to the French Academie des sciences in December 2013, Prof. Kieffer is being honored for her decisive work on the brain mechanisms involved in pain, mental illness and drug addiction. In 1992, she was the first to clone and isolate the gene for an opioid receptor in the brain that plays a key role in alleviating pain, a puzzle which scientists around the world had been attempting to solve for the previous fifteen years. Her findings led the way to new treatments for fighting pain, addiction and depression.
Professor Laurie Glimcher – Immunology and Medicine
Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA; Provost for Medical Affairs, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
The first woman dean of a medical school in New York, Prof. Glimcher is a worldwide pioneer and leader in the field of immunology. She is being honored for discovering key factors involved in controlling immune response (T-bet) in allergies and in autoimmune, infectious and malignant diseases. Her findings are paving the way for the development of new treatments for allergies, asthma, multiple sclerosis, childhood diabetes and cancer.
Professor Cecilia Bouzat - Biophysics
Member of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Buenos Aires; Professor, Universidad Nacional del Sur, Bahia Bianca; Deputy Director, Institute of Biochemical Research of Bahia Bianca (INIBIBB), Argentina
Named a National Fellow by Argentina’s L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Jury in 2007, Prof. Bouzat is now an international leader in neurotransmitter pharmacology. She is being honored for her contribution to our understanding of how brain cells communicate among themselves and with muscles. Her world-renowned discoveries enabled the identification of the communications problem between the brain and muscles that causes major neurological disorders. Prof. Bouzat’s work has opened the door to potential new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, depression and certain addictive behaviors.
Asia / Pacific
Professor Kayo Inaba – Immunology & Medicine
Professor, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Japan; Vice-President for Gender Equality and Director of the Center for Women Researchers, Kyoto University, Japan
The first female associate professor at Kyoto University’s Faculty of Science and deeply committed to bringing more women to scientific research, Prof. Inaba is being honored for her critical discoveries concerning the mechanisms triggered by the immune system when it is faced with a threat such as a virus or bacteria or by abnormal cells such as cancer cells. Specialized in the study of dendritic cells, Prof. Inaba was the first scientist to prove that these cells could be treated outside the body and then reintroduced into the organism to stimulate immune system response. Her discovery marked a turning point in cellular therapy and has already led to a new type of anti-cancer treatment.
Africa and the Arab States
Doctor Segenet Kelemu – Biology & Plant Pathology
Director General, International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Nairobi, Kenya
The first women from her region to attend what was then Ethiopia’s only university, Dr. Segenet Kelemu is being honored for her research on how microorganisms living in symbiosis with forage grasses can improve their capacity to resist disease and adapt to environmental and climate change. Her work is providing new solutions for ecologically responsible food crop production, especially by local, small-scale farmers. After having studied in the United States and worked in Colombia, she returned to Africa and is now at the heart of an impressive international scientific research network.
Jury of the 16th edition
President of the Jury:
Professor Günter BLOBEL
Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1999
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. John D. Rockefeller Jr. Professor, Laboratory of Cell Biology, Rockefeller University, USA
Professor Lihadh AL-GAZALI
Professor in Clinical Genetics and Pediatrics, United Arab Emirates University, UAE
Professor Nancy Yuk Yu CHU IP
Dean of Science, the Morningside Professor of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China
Professor Pascale COSSART
Head of the Bacteria Cell Interaction Unit, INSERM U604, INRA US2020, Institut Pasteur, France
Professor Ana Belén ELGOYHEN
Investigator at the Institute for Research on Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology, National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina
Professor Jacques LECLAIRE
Scientific Director, L’Oreal, Research & Innovation Department, France
Professor Maciej NALECZ
Director, Executive Secretary of the International Basic Sciences Programme,
Professor Onesmo OLE-MOIYOI
Senior Visiting Scientist, International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE); Chairman, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Kenya
Professor Mary OSBORN-WEBER
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen, Germany
Professor Armando PARODI
Ph.D., Laboratorio de Glicobiologia, Fundacion Instituto Leloir, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Professor Jeffrey V. RAVETCH
Theresa and Eugene M. Lang Professor, Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology, Rockefeller University, USA
Professor Marc VAN MONTAGU
Emeritus Professor, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Institute for Plant
Biotechnology Outreach, (IPBO), Ghent University, Belgium
Professor Mayana ZATZ
Director, Human Genome and Stem-cell Center, University of São Paulo, Brazil