Issue Date: August 27, 2007
Trieste Science Prize Winners Announced
THE WINNERS of the 2007 Trieste Science Prize are Luis Rafael Herrera-Estrella and Goverdhan Mehta. The award administered by TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, provides international recognition to outstanding scientists living and working in the developing world. Winners share a $100,000 cash prize.
Herrera-Estrella, director of the National Laboratory for Genomics of Biodiversity of Mexico and professor of plant genetic engineering at the Center of Research & Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute in Irapuato, Mexico, helped pioneer the field of plant molecular biology and genetic engineering. His analysis of the molecular mechanisms of toxins produced by the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv phaseolicola has led to the development of transgenic beans resistant to the disease it causes.
Herrera-Estrella has recently turned his attention to understanding the molecular mechanisms that make it possible for plants to tolerate toxic concentrations of aluminum and, more generally, that enable plants to adapt to nutrient-deficient soils.
Mehta is a research professor at the University of Hyderabad, in India. His work has led to patents for hybrid drugs for the treatment of cancer that combine the drugs' conventional cytotoxic action with the ability to "switch on" the drugs in the desired location using light as a stimulus. He and his group have also synthesized carbon compounds that may have potential applications in nanotechnology devices.
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