8 julio, 2024

10 Colombian scientists and their contributions to science

There are many Colombian scientists who have set an important standard, outstanding specialists who have achieved substantial changes and contributions in science worldwide, and who have shown that this country exports education and innovation.

Although many of these scientists led a life outside their native country, they did not fail to recognize that their origin and, in many cases, the center of their knowledge was founded in their nation of origin: Colombia. Their exploits have earned them national and international honors.

Most Outstanding Colombian Scientists and Their Contributions

Manuel Elkin Patarroyo

Manuel Elkin Patarroyo is a specialist in immunology. He managed to create the synthetic vaccine against malaria in 1986 and 1988, after doing several tests with Amazonian monkeys and some human volunteers.

The scientific investigations carried out by Patarroyo have been fruitful, but at the same time controversial due to his tests with monkeys. However, he has obtained great recognitions, among which the following stand out:

– Award from the Colombian Association for the Advancement of Science (ACAC) in 1989.

– National Prize in Third World Sciences (1990).

– Ángel Escobar National Science Award, four times: 1979, 1980, 1984 and 1986.

– Prince of Asturias Award in the category of scientific and technical research (1994).

Likewise, he has been named doctor honoris causa from universities such as the Central University of Colombia, the National University of Colombia and the Metropolitan University of Barranquilla.

He also received this appointment from the University of Cantabria, the National University of Athens, the Complutense University of Madrid, the University of Costa Rica, the University of Valladolid, the Francisco de Vitoria University and the Ricardo de Palma University.

Rodolfo Llinas

Rodolfo Llinás is one of the most prominent Colombian physicians in neuroscience and has earned worldwide recognition for his contributions.

He graduated as a surgeon at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and later completed a doctorate in neurophysiology at the Australian National University.

Llinás’s contributions have been numerous, but the most recognized have been physiology studies comparing the cerebellum, the electrophysical qualities of neurons —called Llinás’s law— and the connections between the brain and consciousness. In addition, he excelled in his work within the NASA Neurolab group.

The prizes and recognitions he has received have been granted by universities and organizations in countries such as Spain, Italy, France, England, the United States, Japan, Norway, Australia and Switzerland.

Emilio Yunis

Emilio Yunis, physician, geneticist, biologist, and writer, is considered the father of Colombian genetics due to his creation of the Human Genetics Master’s program and the Institute of Genetics at the National University of Colombia.

One of his greatest scientific achievements was the discovery of the Yunis-Varón syndrome in 1980, which consolidated his research.

He obtained awards such as the «Alejandro Ángel Escobar» recognition in Colombia, the appointment of honorary doctor from the National University of Colombia and the title of «Hispanic Scientist of the Year» (2005) in the United States.

Nubia Munoz

Nubia Muñoz, a native of Cali, is a doctor who was among the Nobel Prize nominees thanks to the fact that her studies contributed to the creation of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

He studied medicine at the Universidad del Valle and later specialized in pathology. He subsequently completed a master’s degree in public health and cancer epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University.

His professional career was developed in the United States, within the National Cancer Institute; and in France, at the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

She was named an honorary doctor at McGill University, Canada; and at the University of Antioquia, Colombia.

Angela Restrepo

Ángela Restrepo is one of the most recognized women in the field of medicine in Colombia due to her contributions in microbiology and, also, for being a source of inspiration and teaching for many young doctors.

He studied at Tulane University, in the United States, and then began his professional career, standing out in the diagnosis of diseases caused by fungi and microbes, especially those paracocidioides brasiliensis and histoplasmosis.

Restrepo is a member of various microbiology medical associations in the United States and Colombia, is the author of more than 300 articles and chapters in science books, and has received approximately 30 awards and recognitions around the world.

martha gomez

The Colombian scientist Martha Gómez was recognized as the first to achieve the cloning of a wild cat, an experiment she carried out with the aim of preventing the disappearance of an endangered species.

The achievement was made in 2003 and was considered one of the greatest advances in the field. Likewise, he dabbled in the cloning of sheep and other species of feline animals.

Gómez received her veterinary degree from De La Salle University, a PhD in animal reproduction in Sydney, Australia, and a post-doc in New Orleans.

Francisco Lopera

Francisco Lopera has a specialty in clinical neurology, neuropsychology and neuropediatrics, and has been noted for his excellent studies in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s, as well as experiments in attention, behavior and language disorders.

Curious to understand the human brain, he studied medicine at the University of Antioquia and attended courses at the Department of Psychology.

The beginning of his career was marked by his research on early Alzheimer’s in Antioquia, in which he discovered the “paisa mutation”. Likewise, he identified other mutations such as the notch 3 gene and Wilson’s disease.

His contributions have been awarded by the University of Antioquia, the National Academy of Medicine, the Alejandro Ángel Escobar Foundation and Colciencias.

nelson sabogal

Nelson Sabogal, originally from Cundinamarca, is an environmental scientist and meteorological engineer with a master’s degree in aerology from the University of Saint Petersburg, Russia. He also completed a postgraduate course in climatology at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

His greatest contribution to science was the result of an investigation in which he concluded that ozone was not declining in the tropics, as NASA claimed. The evidence of this was presented in 1991 at the II Period of Sessions on Climate Change, in Vienna; His work was recognized by NASA itself.

Adriana Ocampo

Born in Barranquilla, Adriana Ocampo is a planetary geologist from California State University and is a lead member of NASA’s Science Program. In addition, she obtained a PhD at the Vrije Universiteit, in Amsterdam.

His investigations focused on the discovery of the Chicxulub impact crater and the Aorounga crater. Additionally, she has been an active participant in major NASA investigations, such as the Juno Mission, New Horizons, and Osiris-Rex.

Her recognitions have been the appointment as the woman of the year in the world of science (1992) by the Mexican Women’s Commission, the JPL Women’s Award (1996) and the Technology Award (1997).

Solomon Hakim

Salomón Hakim was the pioneer in the discovery of normotensive hydrocephalus syndrome and created a valve for its treatment.

Graduated from the National University of Colombia, Hakim focused on neurosurgery and neurology, contributing studies to the hydrodynamics of the central nervous system.

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