Fifteen Young Women Researchers Receive Unesco-L’Oréal 2007 International Fellowships For Women In Science Group

Paris 21 February – Fifteen young researchers in the life sciences, originating from all five continents, received today at UNESCO Headquarters the UNESCO-L’ORÉAL International Fellowships for Women in Science. Distributed annually since 2000, the fellowships allow post-doctoral students to pursue their research in a host laboratory located outside their country of origin. They are worth a maximum of US$40,000 over two years.

During the 2007 fellowship ceremony, Béatrice Dautresme, Vice President, Corporate Communications and External Relations for L’ORÉAL, and Walter Erdelen, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at UNESCO, expressed the two partners’ commitment to supporting young women who have chosen scientific vocations.


- Christine OUINSAVI (Benin)
Forest biology: Study of the sustainable use of three forest plant species exploited as an important source of revenue by the rural population of Benin.
Host institution: Laval Forest Study Centre, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
- Mestawet Taye ASFAW (Ethiopia) Food science: Improving the quality of milk from Ethiopian goats for the production of cheese.
Host institution: Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Aas, Norway
- Khady Nani DRAMÉ (Senegal) Plant Biotechnology: Development of drought-tolerant rice species.
Host institution: Africa Rice Center (WARDA), Cotonou, Benin

Arab States:
- Rhimou BOUHLAL (Morocco)
Marine biology: Development of new treatments for bacterial, viral or fungal infection after study of pharmacological potential of Moroccan seaweed extracts
Host institution: Laboratory of Biotechnology and Marine Chemistry, University of Southern Brittany, France
- Fatima ABBAS (Sudan) Plant molecular biology: Study of the potential of a native Sudanese plant, Solanum dubium, as a source of a milk-coagulating enzyme for use in cheese-making.
Host institution: International Center for Chemical Sciences, University of Karachi, Pakistan
- Sarrah BEN M’BAREK (Tunisia) Plant Biotechnology: Development of disease control methods for the fungal pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola, responsible for septoria leaf blotch disease in wheat.
Host institution: Plant Research International, Wageningen, The Netherlands

- Fenny DWIVANY (Indonesia)
Molecular Biology: Development of an alternative method for controlling the ripening of bananas by “silencing” a gene involved in ethylene production.
Host institution: Plant Cell Biology Research Centre, University of Melbourne, Australia
- Barno SULTANOVA (Uzbekistan) Biotechnology: Development of a new type of moist dressing for serious wounds and severe burns.
Host institution: Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany
- Chawanee THONGPANCHANG (Thailand) Medicinal Chemistry: Identification of new molecules that can target the enzyme responsible for resistance to malaria drugs.
Host institution: Organic Chemistry Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Latin America – Caribbean:
- Laura ECHARTE (Argentina)
Crop Physiology: Study of the effect of complementary maize-soybean cultures on soil conservation in Argentina.
Host institution: Dept. of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada
- Venetia BRIGGS (Belize) Behavioral Ecology: Study of the signals used by male red-eyed tree frogs to increase their chances of mating.
Host institutions: Boston University, USA, and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
- Nancy CHANDIA (Chile) Organic Chemistry: Evaluatation of pharmacological properties of a South American plant (Stevia rebaudiana) containing a compound used as a natural sweetener.
Host institution: Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.

Europe-North America
- Petra KLEPAC (Croatia)
Epidemiology: Develop a general model for the optimal control of epidemics using population dynamics.
Host institution: Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Pennsylvania State University, USA
- Irene CHIOLO (Italy) Molecular Biology: Study of how disruption in mitosis, the process of cell division, can be responsible for the onset and progression of cancer.
Host institution: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, California, USA
- Gisella CRUZ GARCIA (Netherlands) Conservation Biology: Improving rice production in North-East Thailand while protecting the value of other plants used by local populations.
Host institution: International Rice Research Institute, Laguna, The Philippines

Launched in 1998, the L’ORÉAL-UNESCO program “For Women in Science” brings together as partners an intergovernmental organization and a private company in order to create projects aimed at supporting women scientists. To date, more than 350 women researchers worldwide have benefited from this unique program.

In addition to the 15 International Fellowships designed to enhance the expertise of post-doctoral students in renowned institutions worldwide, UNESCO and L’ORÉAL annually recognize five outstanding women scientists (one per continent) who are valuable role models for future generations. The 2007 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science will be presented on 22 February at UNESCO in Paris. In addition, since 2001, more than 200 doctoral students in over 20 countries have received L’ORÉAL National Fellowships, supported by the UNESCO National Commissions.

For more information on the partnership, Awards and Fellowships:

For further information or interviews with laureates and fellowship winners:

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