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The Elsevier Foundation, TWAS, and OWSD Honor Early Career Women Scientists in Developing Countries at the Annual AAAS Meeting

Recognition of early-career women scientists helps to support medical research, build strong research cultures, and inspire a new generation

Boston – Five medical and life science researchers from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean Basin today received the 2013 Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World for work that could contribute to life-saving knowledge and therapies worldwide. The prizes were awarded by The Elsevier Foundation, the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), and TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, to build research capacity and advance scientific knowledge throughout the developing world.

The 2013 winners are being recognized for their research excellence. The prize includes US $5,000 and all-expenses paid attendance at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston in February 2013. The winners received their prizes during a special ceremony on Saturday, February 16th.

The winners are:

  • Central & South Asia: Dr. Nasima Akhter, Center for Nuclear Medicine and Ultrasound, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, Dhaka Medical College Hospital Campus
  • East and South-East Asia & the Pacific: Dr. Namjil Erdenechimeg, Institute of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences
  • Latin America & the Caribbean: Dr. Dionicia Gamboa, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Department of Cellular and Molecular Sciences, Lima,
  • Arab region: Dr. Huda Omer Basaleem, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Aden University, Yemen
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Dr. Adediwura Fred-Jaiyesimi, Department of Pharmacognosy, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria


'If we hope to solve the challenges that confront developing nations, we must help young women in science to fully develop their skills and energy," said Professor Romain Murenzi, executive director of TWAS. 'The winners of this prize will be an inspiration not only to other young women, but to all scientists of every generation."

Dr. Nasima Akhter, one of this year's award winners, commented: 'In developing countries, continuing scientific research is difficult due to lack of resources, infrastructure and appropriate support. For young researchers, especially women, it is more difficult to continue research without cooperation and support from employers, co-workers and even family members. The Elsevier Foundation award is an immense honor and an appreciation of early career women scientists from developing countries who are devoted to continuing their research despite limited opportunity and constrains. It will encourage determination, amongst a new generation of women scientists, to contribute more in scientific development through research using available resources and focusing on community needs in line with national and international development goals."

"These five women are pioneers," said Professor Fang Xin, president of OWSD. 'They come from different regions and different cultures, but all of them are doing highly advanced medical and life-science research. Their creativity and achievements will contribute to saving lives around the world, and that is sure to inspire a new generation of young women to pursue their highest ambitions in science and other fields."

David Ruth, Executive Director of the Elsevier Foundation, said, 'The Elsevier Foundation recognizes how important professional visibility is to developing high-profile international scientific careers. Through our New Scholars grant programs we strive to support early-career women scholars with mentoring, research retreats, professional visibility, childcare, work-life integration and recognition programs. The awards for these impressive women scientists represents a cooperative effort supported by Elsevier, OWSD, AAAS and TWAS to build research capacity and advance scientific knowledge throughout the developing world – and what better place than the annual AAAS conference to raise awareness among scientists, policymakers, journalists and the public about the need to retain and celebrate top women scientists.'

The 2014 awards will be launched on April 2, 2013 and the theme will be Chemistry.

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Notes to Editors

About the winners
The 2013 winners, all life scientists, are being recognized for their research excellence.

The winners:

Nasima Akhter, Bangadesh – Medical sciences
For her research on foetal screening for congenital anomalies using ultrasonography and her introduction of the use of inactive iodide adjunct medication with radioiodine therapy in Graves' disease.

Huda Omer Ba Saleem, Yemen – Community and public health
For her dedication in the fight against cancer and for the well-being of women and children in the Arab region.

Erdenechimeg Namjil, Mongolia - Biochemistry
For her investigations of catalytically active antibodies with oxidoreductase activities from the sera of rats.

Adediwura Fred-Jaiyesimi, Nigeria - Pharmacognosy and the antidiabetic properties of Nigerian medicinal plants.
For her work on the medicinal uses of plants, particularly her research on the hypoglycaemic and a-amylase-inhibitory activities of the extracts of two local plant species.

Dionicia Gamboa, Peru – Molecular biology / parasitology
For her multidisciplinary approach to fighting leishmaniasis and malaria, in particular for her studies into the molecular epidemiology of these diseases in endemic regions.

About TWAS
TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, is an autonomous international organization, based in Trieste, Italy, that promotes scientific excellence for sustainable development in the South. Originally named "Third World Academy of Sciences", it was founded in 1983 by a distinguished group of scientists from the South under the leadership of the late Nobel laureate Abdus Salam of Pakistan. The Academy's strength resides in the quality and diversity of its membership – internationally renowned scientists elected by their peers. TWAS currently has more than 1,000 members from 90 countries, 73 of which are developing countries. It is administered by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and financially supported by the Italian government. (www.twas.org)

About OWSD
The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) is an international organization affiliated to TWAS. Headed by eminent women scientists from the South, OWSD has more than 4,000 members. The central role is to promote women's access to science and technology, enhancing their greater involvement in decision-making processes for the development of their countries and in the international scientific community. Created in 1989, OWSD's overall goal is to work towards bridging the gender gap in science and technology. OWSD uses its forum to promote leadership, exchanges and networking for women scientists as well as for discussions to assist in the development of national capabilities to evolve, explore and improve strategies for increasing female participation in science. (www.owsdw.org)

About The Elsevier Foundation
The Elsevier Foundation is a corporate charity funded by Elsevier, a global provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The Elsevier Foundation provides grants to knowledge centered institutions around the world, with a focus on developing world libraries, nurse faculty and scholars in the early stages of their careers. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than 60 grants worth millions of dollars to non-profit organizations working in these fields. Through gift-matching, the Foundation also supports the efforts of Elsevier employees to play a positive role in their local and global communities. www.elsevierfoundation.org

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier's online solutions include ScienceDirect, Scopus, Reaxys, ClinicalKey and Mosby's Nursing Suite, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite and MEDai's Pinpoint Review, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world-leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

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