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PARIS — The L’Oréal Foundation, in partnership with UNESCO, recognized the achievements of five female sciences during the company’s 16th annual For Women in Science awards ceremony, which was held Wednesday night here in the Sorbonne’s majestic amphitheater.
The laureates, each of whom came from a different geographic region, were chosen in acknowledgement of their achievements and contributions to the scientific process. Every winner working in the field of life sciences was granted $100,000 to support her branch of research.
Representing Europe, Brigitte Kieffer received the prize for her work on the brain mechanisms concerned with mental illness, pain and drug addiction. Laurie Glimcher, from North America, was recognized for her discovery of important factors controlling immune responses and their role in allergies and certain types of diseases.
Representing the Asia-Pacific region was Kayo Inaba, acknowledged for her findings regarding the critical role of dendritic cells in the immune system. From Latin America was Cecilia Bouzat, lauded for her work on understanding how brain cells communicate together and with muscles.
And Segenet Kelemu was honored for bettering the resistance and productivity of tropical and subtropical forage grasses using microorganisms.
The laureates were recognized alongside 15 L’Oréal-UNESCO fellows, female scientists at the doctoral and postdoctoral level, each of whom received $40,000 to pursue their research at an international university.
Despite advances in the past decade, women remain severely underrepresented in the international scientific community, according to a L’Oréal Foundation-commissioned study carried out by The Boston Consulting Group. Globally, less than one-third of research scientists are women.
“More than ever, science needs women,” said Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal chairman and chief executive officer, who — addressing the laureates — added that their success will show that science is a possible path for young women.
As part of its mission to highlight women in science, the L’Oréal Foundation on March 8 launched discov-her.com, a multifaceted site.