Awards Fuel UA Environmental Virus Research

UA postdoctoral researcher Aziza Kamel of Egypt studies environmental viruses to protect humans and crops from contaminated water sources. (Photo by Beatriz Verdugo/UANews)
UA postdoctoral researcher Aziza Kamel of Egypt studies environmental viruses to protect humans and crops from contaminated water sources. (Photo by Beatriz Verdugo/UANews)

The success and significance of two University of Arizona researchers' work has drawn the attention of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO.

A partnership between UNESCO and cosmetic company L’Oréal, the UNESCO- L’Oréal For Women in Science Programme gives 15 monetary awards to outstanding women scientists each year. Doctoral candidate Sidrotun Naim and post-doctoral researcher Aziza Kamel from the UA have won the prestigious awards.

A scientist for her people

“They said to me, ‘We cannot do anything, but please study this and help us.’”

Now a doctoral candidate in Kevin Fitzsimmons’ lab in the UA department of soil, water and environmental science, Sidrotun Naim is a native of Indonesia, a country that owes a substantial portion of its economic viability to shrimp aquaculture.

“We have about 20 diseases for shrimp. I witnessed how the farmers are very desperate, every time the diseases come. That’s what motivated me,” she said. “Maybe the most limiting factor in any aquaculture farm is disease.”

Naim knows firsthand the struggles of Indonesian aquaculture farmers: After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia and her master’s degree in marine biology from the University of Queensland, Australia, Naim worked for the World Wildlife Fund to help rehabilitate shrimp farms in Indonesia.

Naim saw her people suffer from the effects of the economic crisis that came in the wake of the 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia and decided to make finding solutions to shrimp diseases her primary focus.

“I started looking for shrimp disease research centers,” she said. Naim found her way to Donald Lightner’s lab in the UA department of veterinary science and microbiology, which is a world reference for shrimp diseases.

Read more of this August 2 article from the UANews at the link below.

Date released: 
Aug 17 2012