Trieste, Italy, 5 July 2006. Two medical researchers who have made fundamental contributions to our understanding and prevention of lethal infectious diseases and two mathematicians who have shed light on some of the world's most mind-boggling mathematical problems have won the Trieste Science Prize for 2006.
Chen Ding-Shinn, dean of the National Taiwan University College of Medicine and chair of the Taiwanese Government's Hepatitis Control Committee, and Rao Zihe, professor at Tsinghua University and director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Biophysics, Beijing, will share the prize in the category of medical sciences. Jacob Palis, director-emeritus of the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and C.S. Seshadri, founding director, Chennai Mathematical Institute in India, will share the prize in the category of mathematics.
The Trieste Science Prize, which is administered by the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) and funded by illycaff, provides international recognition to outstanding scientists living and working in the developing world. The winners will share the US$100,000 cash award.
Chen is being honoured for the leading role he played in uncovering the factors responsible for the transmission of the hepatitis B virus from mothers to infants and for proving that this viral disease was associated not only with liver cirrhosis but also with liver cancer. He used this knowledge to gain support for a comprehensive vaccination campaign in Taiwan - a strategy that has since been adopted by countries across the globe. Thanks to Chen's efforts, the incidence of hepatitis B has declined rapidly and hepatocellular carcinoma has become the first human cancer to be prevented through immunization.
Rao is being recognized for his world-class contributions to structural biology and his studies of viruses responsible for human diseases. Rao led a team of Chinese research
Contact: Danny Schaffer
Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics