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Bonnie Bassler chosen North American Laureate for L’OREAL-UNESCO award

Bonnie Bassler, immediate past president of the American Society for Microbiology and Chair of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology, has been named the 2012 Laureate for North America of the L'OREAL-UNESCO Awards "For Women in Science."

Created in 1998, the L'ORAL-UNESCO Awards recognize five outstanding women researchers who have contributed to scientific progress. Each year, a Laureate is chosen from each of five distinct regions: Africa and Arab States, Asia (including Oceania and Pacific), Europe, Latin America and North America (Canada and USA). These exceptional women scientists serve as role models for the next generation, encouraging young women around the world to follow in their footsteps.

"I am thrilled and honored and surprised! This award validates the creativity and dedication of the team of young researchers in my lab and also the central role that microbes play in health and disease," Bassler said.

Bassler is a Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Her research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that bacteria use for intercellular communication, a process called quorum sensing. Her laboratory investigates quorum sensing in model bacteria and clinically relevant pathogens. A better understanding of how bacteria communicate with one another, enabling them to function as a unit, could lead to new insights about how infectious diseases spread and new measures to combat them.

Her many previous honors include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Eli Lilly Research Award of the American Society for Microbiology, election to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and membership on the National Science Board.

Almost 2,000 eminent members of the scientific community propose candidates for the Awards. Two juries, one in the Life Sciences, the other in the Physical Sciences, meet in alternating years to select the Laureates from these fields of research. The 2012 International Life Sciences Jury was chaired by Professor Gnter Blobel, 1999 Nobelist in Medicine. Also participating in the jury was Professor Christian de Duve, Nobel Prize in Medicine 1974 and Founding President of the L'OREAL-UNESCO Awards. Bassler will receive her Award, which carries a $100,000 honorarium, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on March 22nd, 2012.

Contact: Barbara Hyde
American Society for Microbiology

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