L'Oreal USA

April 02, 2012 10:43 ET

L'Oreal-UNESCO Names Professor Bonnie Bassler, Princeton University, for Women in Science 2012 Laureate for North America

14th Annual L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award Supports Women Who Move Science Forward

NEW YORK, NY and PARIS--(Marketwire - Apr 2, 2012) - The L'ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science partnership recognized five exceptional women scientists from around the world with the 2012 L'ORÉAL-UNESCO Award in Life Sciences. The awards ceremony took place on March 29 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. Professor Bonnie Bassler, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Principal Investigator, Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, was awarded as the 2012 Laureate for North America.

Professor Bassler is a world-renowned expert on how bacteria "talk" to each other using a chemical language in order to coordinate their behavior as a group. She was selected for her work in understanding chemical communication between bacteria and opening up new doors for treating infections.

"The L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards is wonderful for me personally, and it celebrates the good work of the young women and men in my lab who made all the discoveries for which I am being honored. Science just gets done better when the community of scientists reflects the diversity of the world it serves. The L'Oréal-UNESCO award shows an ongoing commitment to ensuring diversity in the sciences across the globe," said Dr. Bassler.

Professor Bassler earned a Ph.D in biochemistry from The Johns Hopkins University in 1990, and performed postdoctoral work in microbial genetics at the Agouran Institute in La Jolla, California. She joined the Princeton University faculty in 1994, and became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in 2005. A year later, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007. Professor Bassler is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the MacArthur Foundation and the American Society for Microbiology.

Among her awards and honors include: the Theobold Smith Society Waksman Award and the New Jersey R&D Council's Thomas Edison Patent Award for Medical Technology (2003), the "Inventor of the Year" award from the New York Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (2004), The American Society for Microbiology Eli Lilly and Company Research Award (2006), Princeton University's Distinguished Teaching Award and the World Cultural Council Award for Scientific Merit (2008), the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences (2009), and the Richard Lounsbery Award, National Academy of Sciences (2011). Professor Bassler served as President of the American Society for Microbiology in 2010-2011.

Professor Bassler was asked to give a presentation on the way bacteria "talk" to each other at the prestigious "TED Talks" seminars, which brings in world-renowned industry leaders from around the globe to speak on their field. Find the video here:

The L'ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards is in its 14th year. An international network of nearly 1,000 scientists nominates the candidates for each year's Awards. The five Laureates are then selected by an independent, international jury presided by Professor Günter Blobel, Nobel Prize in Medicine 1999.

Professor Blobel said, "The work of the 2012 Award Laureates yielded remarkable insights into human health issues, such as diabetes, brain seizures, bacterial and viral infections and extended to the cultivation of plants in arid areas. Their research is truly original and each is among the best in five distinct regions of the world."

An outstanding role model for the next generation of scientists, each Laureate received $100,000 in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of science. Along with Professor Bassler, the other Laureates recognized for their scientific achievements included:

Professor Jill Farrant, AFRICA and ARAB STATES
Professor Ingrid Scheffer, ASIA/PACIFIC
Professor Frances Ashcroft, EUROPE
Professor Susana López, LATIN AMERICA

Faced with global issues such as diminishing resources, increasing and aging populations, and the consequent medical and social challenges, L'Oréal and UNESCO are convinced that these women researchers will have a major impact on society and help light the way to the future. Meet all of our 2012 Laureates by viewing our YouTube video here:

About the L'Oréal Foundation
The L'Oréal 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, the L'Oréal 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 its mission of promoting science at the service of sustainable development and peace. It focuses on policy development and building capacities in science, technology and innovation and promoting and strengthening science education and engineering. UNESCO fosters the sustainable management of freshwater, oceans and terrestrial resources, the protection of biodiversity, and using the power of science to cope with climate change and natural hazards. The Organization also works to eliminate all forms of discrimination and to promote equality between men and women, especially in scientific research.

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