On International Women's Day, l'Oréal and UNESCO annonced names of women scientists rewarded for outstanding scientific research. The prize-giving ceremy took place at UNESCO HQ on 11 March 2004.
2004 Prize winners, all life science specialists, are:
• Africa – Jennifer Thomson (South Africa) : For work on transgenic plants resistant to drought and to viral infections, in an effort to respond to the continent's chronic food shortage.
• South America – Lucia Mendonça Previato (Brazil) : For studies which enable progress in the understanding, treatment and prevention of the Chagas' disease.
• North America – Philippa Marrack (United States) : For the characterization of lymphocyte T functions in the immune system and the discovery of superanti-genes.
• Asia/ Pacific – Nancy Ip (China) : For discoveries concerning proteins which favour the growth and preservation of neurones in brain development.
• Europe – Christine Petit (France) : For research on the molecular and cellular bases of human hereditary deafness and other sensorial deficiencies.
UNESCO's Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura, participated in the award-giving ceremony.
Following an agreement between l'Oréal and UNESCO, signed on 29 September 1999, a prize of 100 000 dollars each is given annually to five outstanding women researchers, one from each continent. Subsequently enhanced the award has been extended to include an allocation of 20 000 dollars, for fifteen young doctoral or post-doctoral students, three from each continent to help them continue their research projects in an institution outside their country of origin, research often oriented towards local issues. An independent jury selects and awards the prizes.
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