For the fifth consecutive year the L’Oréal Chile – UNESCO “For Women in Science” prize was awarded to two budding young Chilean scientists, continuing Chile’s strong reputation for scientific investigation.
The winners, María Magdalena Pérez Ortiz and María Salomé Mariotti Celis are doctoral candidates at the Universidad de Chile and Pontificia Universidad Católica respectively, and will both receive US$14,838 (CLP7 million) in order to pursue their research.
“This year we have recognized the autonomy, the excellence and the special tenacity with which both young scientist have worked on their doctoral theses,” said Gloria Montenegro, who headed the judging panel of distinguished scientists.
“The innovation of their research stood out to us, and we hope to support them in the development of scientific research in our country,” she said.
Twenty-seven-year-old María Magdalena Pérez already boasts a standout career in research – the chemical pharmacist was the first selection among doctoral candidates in her prestigious faculty.
Magdalena’s research is focused on the pharmaceutical treatment of diabetes, “not in a conventional form, but with biomolecules, like insulin, which cannot be administered by conventional means.”
“We are looking for an alternative forms, like oral administration,” she said.
In her reception speech, Magdalena thanked her family and friends, but above all the university which formed her.
“When you enter this world [of higher research] above all in the Universidad de Chile, you know that you’re really doing science, and doing good. The Universidad de Chile is the place that formed me and I am proud to be a daughter of ‘Bello’,” she said, referencing the universities founding father, Andrés Bello.
Meanwhile 32-years-old food engineer María Salomé Mariotti is doing her doctorate in the Engineering Faculty of the Pontificia Universidad Católica.
Her thesis is titled: “Study into the formation of furan in starchy foods processed at high temperatures and technologies for mitigation.”
“In terms of food contaminants, people always think about external agents, namely pesticides, but the range of contaminants which I study are those which emerge in the preparation of food, which are already their original components.”
“Science has been difficult, but beautiful,” said Mariotti adding that she hoped to add to the “critical mass of research in Chile that is continuing to build.”