Dr Mariatulqabtiah Abdul Razak, a visiting scientist in Pirbright’s Avian Influenza Group, has been awarded the prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award 2022 (Malaysia programme).
Maria, an Associate Professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), joined Pirbright in April of this year initially for three months, to work on a project funded by the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network (IVVN). Collaborating with Professor Munir Iqbal, Head of the Avian Influenza Group, she is currently researching a potential universal avian influenza vaccine for chickens. Maria’s stay at Pirbright has been extended to nine months thanks to the support of her university.
Each year, the Fondation L’Oréal and UNESCO celebrates the scientific excellence of eminent female researchers from around the world. Since the creation of the For Women in Science programme in 1998, over 120 Laureates and more than 3,900 talented scientists, PhD students and post-doctoral fellows, have been supported and honoured in more than 110 countries and regions. The Malaysia programme was initiated in 2016 and has awarded over RM1,500,000 in grants to more than 57 female scientists in recognition of their achievements.
Maria’s research plan on the ‘Development of a rapid diagnostic method against mpox virus’ was selected by the judging panel for its strong significance and contribution to science. Maria will be granted a seed fund of RM30,000 to kick start the project in 2023.
She said: “I am blessed to be surrounded by enthusiastic, like-minded researchers who drive my perseverance towards answering to the challenges in infectious viral diseases. The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science award shines a spotlight on my humble work which I hope can influence other female scientists to live to their fullest potential, and inspire young girls to pursue science”.
Maria received the award at a ceremony, held in person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, on Wednesday 30 November in Kuala Lumpur where she also delivered a presentation on her research.
Image caption: Maria receiving her L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science award in Malaysia. Credit: L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science.