Italian virologist Ilaria Capua receives the Hypatia Award
The Deputy Mayor for Culture, Education, Science and Community, Joan Subirats, presented the Hypatia Award today at a ceremony held in the Saló de Cent. The European award was presented to Ilaria Capua, virologist and director of the One Health Excellence Centre at the University of Florida, for her outstanding career in the field of research in veterinary medicine and microbiology, for her contributions to science policy and the multidisciplinary concept of one health, and for her leadership in promoting open access to genetic information on emerging viruses.
Ilaria Capua was chosen from nineteen previously nominated candidates in the field of life and health sciences on which this second edition of the Hypatia Award was focused. Besides, as a result of winning the 30,000 euro prize, Capua has been appointed a member of the Academia Europaea, and will attend the Building Bridges 2021 conference in October.
Ilaria Capua is Professor and Director of the One Health Center of Excellence at the University of Florida. She has dedicated her professional career to the study of zoonotic viral infections that can be transmitted to humans, many of which have an impact on the critical issue of food safety. At the height of the spread of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in 2006, Capua initiated a global scientific debate on data sharing with the publication of the genetic sequence of an African variant of the virus in an open access public database. This has been a paradigm shift towards real-time sharing of genetic information on potentially pandemic viruses for the fight against emerging health threats such as influenza, Ebola, Zika and coronaviruses.
Capua currently directs the University of Florida’s circular health programme, which aims to jointly advance human, animal, plant and environmental health as a single system by harnessing big data. As a keynote speaker at international events, Capua is particularly active in communicating scientific knowledge to non-expert audiences and advocating for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
The Hypatia Award
The Hypatia Award is an initiative of Barcelona City Council in collaboration with the Barcelona Knowledge Hub of the Academia Europaea, within the framework of the Barcelona Science Plan, to project the city as a European capital of research and innovation. Its main objective is to boost science, as well as to promote, support and enhance the value of top-level research carried out in Europe and to raise awareness of the impact this research has on society. The call is addressed to scientists, researchers who have developed their research work in a European country and who have achieved excellence in their career at the highest international level, a positive influence on society and social welfare and impact in different fields of knowledge.
The Academia Europaea is a non-governmental association of European scope whose members are individuals from the scientific and academic fields who aim to collectively promote education and research. The Barcelona Knowledge Hub, created in 2013, is the subdivision of Academia Europaea for the Mediterranean and Southern European region. It promotes activities of interest to members in the region, as well as to the wider scientific community, with the aim of contributing to the consolidation of a genuine European area of innovation, research and education. The headquarters is located in the building of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans (Institute of Catalan Studies), in the Raval neighbourhood of Barcelona.