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  • Genomic Ecology professor Maria Esperanza Martinez, Mexico city, Mexico, 2019.

    Genomic Ecology professor Maria Esperanza Martinez, Mexico city, Mexico, 2019. | Photo: Twitter / @DobleRendija

Published 11 February 2020

L'Oreal-Unesco prize was also awarded to Abla Mehio Sibai, Kristi Anseth, Edith Heard and Firdausi Qadri.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and the French company L'Oreal Tuesday awarded their joint prize for "Women and Science" to Mexican scientist Maria Esperanza Martinez for her research on the use of environmentally friendly bacteria.

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Martinez, who is a Genomic Ecology professor at the Center for Genomic Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), has carried out pioneering studies to promote plant growth and increase agricultural productivity by reducing the use of chemical fertilizers.

She was one of five women who were awarded in this edition of the L'Oréal-Unesco prize, which was also granted to Abla Mehio Sibai, professor of Epidemiology at the Faculty of Health Sciences from the American University of Beirut, for their work to improve healthy aging in low-income countries.

For North America, Kristi Anseth, a professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado, was chosen to receive the award for "contributing to the convergence of engineering and biology to develop innovative biomaterials that are capable of promoting tissue regeneration and drug efficacy."

In Europe, the general director of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Edith Heard, won the L'Oréal-Unesco award for her "discoveries of the mechanisms that govern epigenetic processes that allow mammals to regulate the correct expression of genes, essential for life."​​​​​

In the Asia-Pacific region, mucosal immunology researcher Firdausi Qadri prevailed for her work in understanding and preventing infectious diseases that affect children in developing countries.

Unesco and L'Oréal also recognized 15 young women as promising scientists, among whom is Spain's oceanographer of the Institute of Marine Sciences Cristina Romera-Castillo, who has studied microplastics in the ocean.

In Dec. 2019, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) also presented professor Maria Esperanza Martinez with the National Science Award.

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