Yes, science is done in Colombia

Eduardo Posada, president of the Colombian Association for the Advancement of Science (ACAC) said at the annual statutory session of the Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences (ACCEFYN) held on the third Wednesday of August each year. In this session, the National Prize for Comprehensive Work in Science, awarded jointly by ACCEFYN and ACAC, makes it the highest award a Colombian scientist can aspire to.

Posada and Piedad Villaves, director of the ACAC, highlighted the fact that the Colombian scientific community is much stronger than governments imagined and we must know that we have the capacity to build a better nation on the basis of science produced in universities. Colombian.

Biologist Enrique Forero, former director of research at the Missouri Botanical Garden and later in New York, has headed ACCEFYN for the past seven years. Under his supervision, ACCEFYN transformed from the esteemed Bogotá Foundation into Cover the entire country with regional chapters made up of local scholars hitherto ignored by the establishment. He also established a youth academy with scholars under the age of 40 from where the corresponding members would come in the future and invited national figures with a science inclination to become the academy’s friends. The country must recognize this difficult but extraordinary act.

For the National Prize for Comprehensive Work in Science, the jury recognized the merits of María Teresa Rugeles from the University of Antioquia and Braulio Insuasty from the Universidad del Valle. The work for which they were honored was completely accomplished in Colombia. Ruggles is a bacteriologist who currently directs the Immunovirology Group at the University of Antioquia where she has finely tuned Antiviral treatment protocols especially in AIDS patients. Last year, he isolated and sequenced the SARS-CoV-2 virus circulating in Antioquia. She has over 125 articles published in indexed journals and a foundation for integrating low-income youth into college life, a fact that proves her social commitment.

Insuasty is proud to have been born in Yacuanquer, a municipality in Nariño whose name means ‘Tombs of the Gods’. With more than thirty years at Universidad del Valle, he leads the group of heterocyclic compounds that during its fruitful career has isolated a large number of antibacterial and antiparasitic compounds, as well as antitumor molecules that have been evaluated by the National Cancer Institute in the United States. It has achieved new materials for the manufacture of photovoltaic cells, which is an important contribution to the production of clean energy. Published over 220 articles in indexed journals. Both Rugeles and Insuasty constituted an important group of physicians and judges.

Former Minister Joan Mayer, speaking on behalf of Friends of the Academy, presented the award to Paola Liliana Giraldo, a professor at the University of the Andes, where she leads a group of quantum materials aimed at producing quantum monomers. The winner said that her work shows how frontier science can be done from our country.

The solemn session culminated in the elevation of two Colombian scientists to the category of honorary members. Margherita Perea, Professor at the National University, a biologist from the University of Gafriana with a PhD from the University of Paris and residency at the Wageningen University, has dedicated her life to biotechnology and made important achievements in the genetic improvement of plants that have led to him being a consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). ) for several countries. Helena Grote, a microbiologist from the Andes, where for years she directed the Human Genetics Laboratory, the country’s first. He has resided in several English laboratories and at Stanford University.

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