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Cameroonian woman winner of the Women and Science Award

Cameroonian woman winner of the Women and Science Award

Five exceptional female researchers win the 2024 L'Oréal-UNESCO International Prize For women and science

Yaoundé, May 14, 2024 The L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO are proud to announce the names of the five winners of the 2024 L'Oréal-UNESCO International Prize. For women and science. On May 28, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, these researchers will be rewarded For their pioneering work in life and environmental sciences, and especially this year for the progress they have made In the face of public health challenges, Whether it is cancer, infectious diseases such as malaria and polio, or chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes or epilepsy.

Every year, the L'Oréal-UNESCO International Prize For women and science It is awarded to a distinguished female scientist from each of the following five regions: Africa and the Arab States, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe.

The winners of this issue are 26H The edition was selected from more than 350 nominees from around the world, by an independent international jury chaired by Professor Brigitte L. Kieffer, Director of Research at the Inserm Institute, member of the Academy of Sciences and former winner of the International Oriel-UNESCO Prize. For women and science.

They demonstrate, through the excellence of their work, that science needs women more than ever, for example to address major public health challenges, while cancer cases could increase by 77% by 2050, and obesity now affects 1 in Every 8 people in the world. There are still more than 249 million cases of malaria. (Source: World Health Organization)

Winners of the L'Oréal-UNESCO International Prize for Women in Science

Winner for Africa and the Arab countries

Professor Rose Lake – Immunology

Former Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology Former Director of the Center for Biotechnology, University of Yaoundé 1, Cameroon

She was honored for her outstanding research and innovative efforts to improve the study of malaria in pregnant women, support polio eradication and enable better vaccination in Africa, as well as for her mobilization to enhance the career paths of young pregnant scientists.

Professor Leakey's national, regional and global impact has had a profound impact on public health in her country of origin – Cameroon – and throughout Africa. Her accomplishments make her a role model, pioneering mentor, and ally for young women scientists.

Winner for Latin America and the Caribbean

Professor Alicia Kowaltowski – Biochemistry

Professor of Biochemistry, University of São Paulo, Brazil

She was rewarded for her fundamental contribution to the biology of mitochondria, which are “the main source of energy for cells and constitute their batteries.” His work has been essential to understanding the role of energy metabolism in chronic diseases, particularly obesity and diabetes, as well as in aging.

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Her contribution as a researcher and mentor, as well as her advocacy and dissemination of science in Latin America to the general public, are a great source of inspiration for young scientists.

Winner for North America

Professor Nada Jabado – Human Genetics

Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Human Genetics, Canada Tier 1 Research Chair in Pediatric Oncology, McGill University, Canada

He received the award because he revolutionized our understanding of the genetic defects responsible for the aggressiveness of childhood cancers. His discovery of the first histone mutations in human disease, called oncohistones, transformed cancer research.

Through her innovative work and leadership in establishing a global collaborative network, she has reshaped the medical approach to treating childhood cancer, advancing diagnostic capabilities and clinical treatments for young patients.

Winner for Asia Pacific

Professor Ning Yan – Structural Biology

Professor, College of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, Honorary President of Shenzhen Academy of Medical Research and Translation, Director of Shenzhen Bay Laboratory, China.

He was awarded the prize for his discovery of the atomic structure of multiple membrane proteins that mediate the movement of ions and sugars across the cell membrane, revealing the principles governing membrane transport.

His research has shed light on many disorders such as epilepsy and arrhythmia and has guided the treatment of chronic pain syndrome. A leading authority in her field, Professor Yan is an inspiration to female scientists around the world and a strong advocate for gender equality in scientific research and teaching.

Winner for EuropeH

Professor Genevieve Al-Mouzani – Molecular Biology

Research Director, Center National de la Recherche Scientifique and Institut Curie, France

She was rewarded for her critical contributions to understanding the cellular mechanisms responsible for cancer, starting with the integration of DNA into the cell. His pioneering work in the field of epigenetics has enabled significant advances in disease detection and thus improved biodiagnostics.

The first woman to head the Curie Institute since Irène Joliot-Curie and a mentor committed to passing it on to the next generation of scientists, Professor Al-Mouzani is an inspiration to women scientists around the world.

26 years of service to women in science

Even today, only one in three researchers in the world is a woman, according to a UNESCO report[1] (33%). Moreover, the glass ceiling remains a reality: only a quarter of senior scientific positions are held by women in Europe.2 Since the establishment of the Nobel Prizes in Science in 1901, only 25 women have won these awards3.

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For 26 years, the L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO have worked together to promote women in science through the International Prize For women and science National and regional Young Talent Programs in more than 140 countries promote the scientific excellence of female researchers and help give them the means to break the glass ceiling.

Since its inception, the L'Oréal-UNESCO programme For women and science

More than 4,400 female scientists were distinguished, including 132 recipients of international awards for excellence in their research and more than 4,000 young female scientists.

Among these winners, 7 of them received the Nobel Prize.

Alexandra Palt, General Director of the L'Oréal Foundation: “The sustainable future of humanity depends on true equality between men and women. Unfortunately, this is still the case today in the scientific field, where the world faces more enormous challenges than ever before. The L’Oréal-UNESCO Program for Women in Science has put forward this issue At the heart of the debate for 26 years, advancing the work of many exceptional women scientists and inspiring the next generation of researchers The work of the 2024 International Prize winners enables significant progress for the health of all and encourages us to keep fighting..

About Lidia Brito, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at UNESCO: “Advancing women in science is a matter of fairness and pragmatism. Women make up half the population and we need every bit of human ingenuity to address the enormous challenges we face, from environmental degradation to climate and biodiversity disruption, pandemics, the technology gap, and persistent poverty. It is encouraging that We see an increasing number of women among the winners of the Nobel Prize in Science since 1901. 25 women have received the award, including 15 since the establishment of the L'Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Program in 1998. Six of these 15 women have been winners. Already awarded the L'Oréal-UNESCO International Women and Science Award before receiving the Nobel Prize.

About the L'Oréal Foundation

The L'Oréal Foundation is committed to supporting women to enable them to express their potential, regain control of their destiny and have a positive impact on society, through three areas of intervention: scientific research, beauty and climate change.

Since 1998, L'Oréal-UNESCO programme For women and science It aims to accelerate the career path of female scientists and combat the obstacles they face, so that they can contribute to solving the major challenges of our time. Over the course of 26 years, the program has supported more than 4,400 researchers from more than 110 countries. It values ​​scientific excellence and seeks to inspire young women to enroll in scientific courses.

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Convinced that beauty contributes to the process of self-reconstruction, the L'Oréal Foundation helps vulnerable women improve their self-esteem by giving them access to free beauty and luxury treatments. It also enhances vulnerable women's access to employment opportunities through excellent training in beauty professions. In 2023, more than 23,000 women will benefit from these beauty and well-being treatments, and more than 45,000 people will be able to participate in customized training since the beginning of the program.

Finally, women are victims of persistent gender inequality and discrimination, accelerated by climate change. Although they are the first to be affected by the consequences of global warming, they are underrepresented in decision-making bodies. The L'Oréal Foundation's Women and Climate Program supports women implementing projects responding to the climate emergency, and raises awareness of the importance of solutions that take into account the intersection between gender and climate issues.


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, with its 194 member states, contributes to achieving peace and security by promoting multilateral cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture, communication and information. UNESCO coordinates a network of more than 2,000 World Heritage sites, biosphere reserves and global geoparks; Several hundred creative, educational, inclusive and sustainable cities; And more than 13,000 schools, university chairs and associated training and research centers. Headquartered in Paris, the organization has offices in 54 countries and employs more than 2,300 people. Its General Director is Ms. Audrey Azoulay.

“Wars that arise in the minds of men must be built in their minds as bulwarks of peace” – UNESCO Constitutive Act, 1945.

Press Communications – L'Oréal Foundation

Hugo Berthol: [email protected]

Victoria Dumesnil: [email protected] +33 683 002 780

Lawrence Delval: [email protected] + 33 682 529 847

Juliet Jacobides: [email protected] +33 648 498 315

Margot Vivit: [email protected] +33 625 427 670

Press contact – UNESCO

François Webo: [email protected]+33 1 45 68 07 46

1To be smart, the digital revolution must be inclusiveChapter Three of the UNESCO Science Report

2 They are numbers 3 Nobel Foundation