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The 12th Annual L'OREAL-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science Honor Five Exceptional Women Scientists Making Contributions to Better Our Future

Professor Elaine Fuchs of the Rockefeller University is Honored as the 2010 Laureate for North America

Published 10-14-09

Submitted by L'Oreal

The L'OREAL-UNESCO For Women in Science partnership today announced the five exceptional women scientists who will receive the 2010 L'OREAL-UNESCO Awards in the Life Sciences.

An international network of nearly 1,000 scientists nominates the candidates for the awards and the five Laureates are then selected at a meeting of the jury, presided over by Professor Gunter Blobel, Nobel Prize in Medicine 1999.

This year, the Laureate for North America is Professor Elaine Fuchs, Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development at The Rockefeller University in New York. She is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Professor Fuchs was selected for her contributions to our knowledge of skin biology and skin stem cells. Her research focuses on how the skin and its hair follicles regenerate and maintain the balance of cell loss and cell replacement. Professor Fuchs was also recently awarded the National Medal of Science for her work.

Along with Professor Fuchs, the other 2010 For Women in Science Laureates recognized for their scientific contributions are:

  • Rashika El Ridi (Africa & the Arab States): Professor at Cairo University in Egypt, for paving the way towards the development of a vaccine against the tropical disease Schistomiasis/Bilharzia.

  • Lourdes J. Cruz (Asia-Pacific): Professor at the Marine Science Institute at the University of the Philippines Diliman in the Philippines, for the discovery of marine snail toxins that can serve as powerful tools to study brain function.

  • Anne Dejean-Assemat (Europe): Professor at the Pasteur Institute in France, for her contributions to our understanding of leukemia and liver cancers.

  • Alejandra Bravo (Latin America): Professor at the Institute of Molecular Microbiology of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma in Mexico, for her work on a bacterial toxin that acts as a powerful insecticide.

The awards ceremony honoring the Laureates will take place on March 4, 2010 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Each Laureate will receive US $100,000 in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of science.

The 2010 Laureates join an esteemed group of women researchers, including two 2008 L'OREAL-UNESCO Award For Women in Science recipients, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr. Ada Yonath, who were recently named to receive the Nobel Prizes in Medicine and Chemistry respectively.

A Pioneering Program: Twelve Years of Encouraging Passion and Promoting Excellence

Since the launch of the partnership in 1998, L'Oreal and UNESCO have been actively supporting the cause of women in science. In the context of economic crisis and the changes within modern society, both partners believe that today, more than ever, the world needs science. At the heart of this commitment, L'Oreal and UNESCO are acting to promote women scientists who are devoting their lives, with courage and passion, to finding solutions to tomorrow's challenges.

In the past 12 years, 62 Laureates, 150 International Fellows, 700 National Fellows have been recognized through the For Women in Science program. The partnership of L'Oreal and UNESCO and the For Women in Science program serve as a benchmark for international scientific excellence, and an invaluable source of motivation, support, and inspiration for all women in the sciences.

A Jury Made Up of Eminent Scientists

The 2010 L'OREAL-UNESCO Awards Jury is made up of 18 eminent members of the international scientific community from five continents, with Professor Gunter Blobel, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine 1999, serving for the third time as President of the Life Sciences jury. Professor Christian de Duve, Nobel Prize in Medicine 1974, is the Founding President of the Awards, and Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, is Honorary President.

Professor Blobel said: "For a dozen years, the L'OREAL-UNESCO Awards have recognized and promoted exceptional women who, by the excellence of their research, contribute to the advancement of science. As we announce the Laureates of the 2010 Awards, we are very proud to note that two Laureates of the 2008 Awards will receive 2009 Nobel Prizes. The L'OREAL-UNESCO Awards Laureates are among the world's best scientific talents and will serve as role models for the future of science."

About The L'Oreal Corporate Foundation

The L'Oreal Corporate Foundation, created in 2007, pursues the goal of making the world a better place each day. It draws on the Group's values and business to strengthen and perpetuate the Group's commitment to social responsibility.

As the second-largest corporate foundation in France with a multi-annual budget of euro 40 million, the L'Oreal Foundation is committed to three types of action: promoting scientific research in the fundamental and human sciences, supporting education and helping individuals made vulnerable by alternations to their appearance to reclaim their rightful place in society.


Since its creation in 1945, UNESCO has pursued the mission of promoting science for peace. Today, UNESCO aims to reinforce international cooperation in the basic sciences among its 192 Member States and promotes ethical norms in science. The organization has also been dedicated to eliminating all forms of discrimination and promoting equality between men and women. As well as developing educational programs in science particularly designed for girls, UNESCO has established a network of academic chairs creating links between women in science around the world.

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A worldwide leader in the cosmetics industry, L'Oréal develops innovative products to meet the diverse needs of customers in 130 countries worldwide. Over 3,000 people work in the Group's 14 research centers, located in France, Asia and America. Their findings are responsible for the registration of hundreds of patents annually. Women represent 55% of the research workforce - a percentage unmatched anywhere else in the industry.


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