Professor Shahida Hasnain of Pakistan and Dr Samir Saha of Bangladesh have been named as the two laureates of the 2017 Carlos J. Finlay UNESCO Prize for Microbiology. The Prize will be presented to them on 6 November during the 39th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, which will bring together the Organization’s 195 Member State from 30 October to 14 November.
Founder and Chairperson of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Punjab in Lahore (Pakistan), Shahida Hasnain has won numerous distinctions for her work. Her department is today recognized as a centre of excellence both for its equipment and expertise.
Professor Hasnain significantly contributed to advances in research in environmental, agricultural and medical microbiology. She has notably worked on the heavy metal detoxification mechanisms, salt stress tolerance mechanisms, and bacterial morphogenesis.
Dr Samir Saha is the head of the Microbiology Department of the Dhaka Shishu Hospital for children (Bangladesh). He is also the Executive Director of The Child Health Research Foundation at the Bangladesh Institute of Child Health.
As leading researcher in paediatrics, he played a key role in introducing to Bangladesh vaccines against two bacteria that cause meningitis, which had a direct positive impact on the health of children in the country. He has also led research into the resistance to treatment of some pneumococcal diseases.
The two laureates were named by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the recommendation of an international jury of experts in microbiology.
The Carlos J. Finlay Prize for Microbiology has an endowment of $10,000, which will be divided between the two laureates. Created in 1977 by UNESCO at the initiative of the Government of Cuba, the Prize rewards scientists whose research has made an outstanding contribution to microbiology and its applications.