The Latin American nonprofit Fundación Carlos Slim has awarded Dr. María Elena Bottazzi, professor of pediatrics and associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, the 2018 Research Trajectory Slim Health Award for her 20-year work developing vaccines for parasitic diseases such as Chagas, hookworm and schistosomiasis that affect more than a billion people worldwide.

The foundation annually recognizes the work of people who, individually or collectively, have dedicated their lives to search for innovative solutions to health problems in Latin America, especially those conditions that affect the most vulnerable populations in the region, helping more people live longer and better lives.

“I am honored to receive this prestigious award,” Bottazzi said. “I hope that this recognition will inspire new generations of young scientists to discover, innovate and apply solutions to health problems that affect the most disadvantaged populations in Latin America.”

In addition to the recognition and prestige that accompany this award, the winners will receive $100,000 to continue their work of excellence, both at institutional and individual levels, benefiting the health of Latin American populations.

Bottazzi received her bachelor degree in microbiology and clinical chemistry from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras. Later, she received her doctorate degree in molecular immunology and experimental pathology from the University of Florida in Gainesville.

During her postdoctoral training, she focused on research in the areas of cellular and molecular biology at the University of Miami and the University of Pennsylvania.

Bottazzi, who also is professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor and deputy director of Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, has published hundreds of scientific articles in prestigious journals and her work has been widely recognized by a number of awards around the world. In 2017, she received the Orden Gran Cruz Placa de Oro awarded by the National Congress of Honduras and also was recognized as one of the 100 Women Leaders in Health by the Graduate Institute in Geneva.

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