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This prize is rather "young": only five years have passed since its institution. But it has become very popular throughout the world because over these few years one representative of the scientific elite from each of the five continents has merited this prize thrice. Also, this prize has become so much popular because it is awarded on behalf of UNESCO and L'Oreal (France), a cosmetic company well known to millions of women, and because the international jury headed by Christian de Duve, a Nobel prize winner for 1974, selects only those few whose research works are really unique and contribute to the enhancement of knowledge on life.*
* See: R. Petrov, "International Prize for 'Women in Science'", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2001.- Ed.
Now there came March 5, 2002 - a day, when in Paris, at the UNESCO headquarters, in a festive atmosphere, UNESCO General Secretary, Koichiro Matsuura, chairman and chief administrator of L'Oreal, Lindsey Owen-Jones, and Professor Christian de Duve congratulated the new laureates of the international prize "Women in Science". Among them were a geneticist from Egypt, Professor Nagwa Meguid - she represented scientists of Africa.
Studying neoplasms that are so widespread in her country (some people in the Mediterranean basin also suffer from them) and cause mental disorders and the Downe syndrome, the scientist formulated a database, important for research. Ana Maria Lopez- Colome, a professor of Mexican Institute of Cell Physiology, is studying molecular mechanisms that form the basis of normal functions of the eye retina as well as changes in these processes leading to complete blindness.
As a result, experimental models for studying a number of serious ophthalmological pathologies have been worked out; Prof. Lopez- Colome has become a laureate for 2002 from South America. The third laureate is Professor Indira Nath (India), a prominent specialist in treating leprosy. She has identified the mechanisms of leprosy, which is a considerable advance in the methodology of creating a vaccine for this disease. This is very important for many people of the
Asian Continent which Mrs. Indira Nath represents. Professor Mary Osborn (FRG) is one of the pioneers of immunofluorescent microscopy used today in many laboratories of the world. Her technology can be applied for discovering protein in certain cell structures, it will allow to carry out differential diagnostics of tumors in man. All women scientists of Europe have been awarded for this work in the person of the German biologist.
From North America a prize was granted to Professor Shirley Tilghman (USA). A geneticist of world renown, she is among scientists who have cloned the first gene of mammals. She has greatly contributed to the discovery and interpretation of "genetic inprints" in animals, demonstrating how some genes "express" themselves in the process of embryonic development, depending on whether they are inherited from mother or father. By the way, in 2001 Mrs. Sh. Tilghman became the first woman to head the well- known Prinston University.
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