Nigerian woman for the Elsevier Foundation Awards

By Abdallah el-Kurebe in Chicago, USA

CHICAGO/ILLINIOS – Nigerian Chemist, Dr. Taiwo Olayemi Elufioye of the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, has won the 2014 Elsevier Foundation Awards, among four other women and would receive awards for Early Career Women Scientists in Developing World for their researches into the medicinal properties of natural compound.

Elufiole, who is the only woman from the Sub-Saharan Africa, will receive the award for research is on the medicinal properties of native Nigerian plants, with particular bias on the effectiveness of different species in treating malaria,wounds, memory loss, leprosy and cancer.

The award ceremony organized jointly by the Elsevier Foundation, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) will hold at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting on Saturday.

The four other winners are from Central & South Asia: Dr. Nilufar Mamadalieva of the Institute of the Chemistry of Plant Substances, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Her research is in Biochemistry where she worked on the phytochemical and biological investigation of active compounds derived from medicinal plants growing in Central Asia. Particularly, the development of efficient nutraceuticals and the discovery of new lead compounds for the pharmaceutical industry.

From East and South-East Asia & the Pacific, Dr. Leni Ritmaleni of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia would be awarded for her work in the field of organic synthesis, focusing on the development of tropical medicines, with particular improved methods for the synthesis of sulfoxides and their application in the preparation of biologically active targets.

Dr. Simone Ann Marie Badal McCreath of the Natural Products Institute of University of the West Indies, Jamaica, won the award from West Indies Latin America & the Caribbean region for her work in designing a new cell culture lab to investigate the cancer-fighting properties of Jamaican natural compounds.

While from the Arab region, Dr. Eqbal Mohammed Abdu Dauqan of the Department of Medical Laboratories Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Al-Saeed University, Taizz, Yemen would be awarded her research on the antioxidant properties of vegetable oils and specialized research in sensory evaluation and organic chemistry.

“The winners of the 2014 Elsevier Foundation prizes are impressive not just for their research, but also for their potential. Certainly these awards could bring them exciting new opportunities for research. We also believe that, over time, these researchers also will fulfill their potential as teachers and mentors, as partners in international projects and as advisers to governments. Such leadership can make a long-lasting contribution to global science,” said Romain Murenzi, TWAS Executive Director.

Fang Xin, president of OWSD said: “These five women, like all women undertaking scientific research in developing countries, will certainly have faced challenges on the road to this award. But their determination, commitment and enthusiasm have paid off. The award is in recognition that they are excellent scientists and that their research has made an impact both regionally and internationally. They are an inspiration to all young women considering careers in science.”

David Ruth, Executive Director of the Elsevier Foundation, said, “Professional visibility is crucial to developing high-profile international scientific careers, especially for women. The Elsevier Foundation provides support to early-career women scholars through our New Scholars grant programs and mentoring, research retreats,professional visibility, childcare, work-life integration and recognition programs.
The awards for these impressive women scientists represent 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 women scientists.”

The focus of the 2014 competition, which was the application of chemistry of nature to pharmaceutical science, would attract $5,000 and all-expenses paid attendance at the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago. In 2015 the prize will be for physics and mathematics.

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