Lourdes Cruz, a Filipino professor is one of the five exceptional women scientists in the world in the 2010 L’Oreal-UNESCO Awards in the Life Sciences, the Science Education Institute.
They will be awarded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on March 4, 2010 in Paris, France.
Lourdes Cruz who discovered the use of snail toxins to study brain functions is a professor at the Marine Science Institute at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
Cruz, who is also a recipient of the Order of National Scientist, is the first Filipino woman to receive the award.
The other laureates are Rashika El Ridi, Elaine Fuchs, Anne Dejean-Assémat, and Alejandra Bravo.
Rashika, a professor at Cairo University in Egypt, is recognized “for paving the way towards the development of a vaccine against the tropical disease Schistomiasis/Bilharzia.”
A professor at the Rockefeller University in the United States, Fuchs is honored “for her contributions to our knowledge of skin biology and skin stem cells.”
Dejean-Assémat, a professor at the Pasteur Institute in France, is recognized “for her contributions to our understanding of leukemia and liver cancers.”
Bravo, professor at the Institute of Molecular Micro-biology of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma in Mexico, is honored “for her work on a bacterial toxin that acts as a powerful insecticide.”
Established in 1997, the award, given annually by the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation and UNESCO, honors women in the world “who are making contributions to the future of humankind.”
Each laureate will receive $100,000 “in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of science.”
An international network of nearly 1,000 scientists nominates the candidates for each year’s awards.
The five laureates were selected at a meeting of the jury presided by Pr. Günter Blobel, Nobel Prize winner in Medicine in 1999.
The award aims to promote women scientists who are devoting their lives, with strength and passion, to finding solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.
In 12 years, the program has recognized 62 laureates, 150 international fellows, and 700 national fellows.
Established in 2007, the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation is the second-largest corporate foundation in France and is committed to promoting scientific research in the fundamental and human sciences, supporting education, and helping individuals made vulnerable by alternations to their appearance to reclaim their rightful place in society.
UNESCO aims to reinforce international cooperation in the basic sciences among its 192 member-states, and promotes ethical norms in science. The organization is also dedicated to eliminating all forms of discrimination and promoting gender equality.