From National Fellow to International Laureate

Argentinian doctor Cecilia Bouzat has contibuted greatly to our knowledge of the way brain cells communicate among themselves and with our muscles. This new method of recording neuronal communications may lead to new treatments for schizophrenia, tobacco addiction, Parkinson disease, epilepsia or autism.

The study of the human brain, one of nature’s most complex structures and the organ we know least about, is often called the new frontier of science. Professor Cecilia Bouzat is at the very forefront of this field and she is being honored for her seminal research on how, at the molecular level, brain cells communicate among themselves and how they communicate with muscles to make them contract. Her work has greatly increased our understanding of how alterations in these molecular pathways lead to muscle diseases. 

She invented a new method of recording neuronal communications by combining techniques used in electrophysiology with techniques used in molecular biology, a procedure now utilized in numerous hospitals around the world. The questions her work is answering have implications for an extremely wide array of applications, including treatments for neuromuscular and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, depression and addictive behaviors.

From National Fellow to International Laureate

Named a National Fellow by Argentina’s L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science jury in 2007, Professor Bouzat received a fellowship which helped her continue her research. Now a Laureate for Latin America, her career path illustrates one of the program’s cornerstones: Providing support and recognition to women scientists throughout their entire careers. She is admired and respected by her peers around the planet, and not only for the world-class quality of her work.

“Women can be good scientists and women scientists can be good mothers.”

They also express great esteem for her immense tenacity and determination, a refusal to accept the word “impossible” that has enabled her to accomplish so much in her scientific endeavors. Like many scientists from nations experiencing economic difficulties, she is forthright about the challenges. Although she would be warmly welcomed at any number of the world’s richly-financed research facilities, she believes she has a duty to her country. “High-level research is possible in Argentina thanks to the quality of our public universities, to CONICET which offers support to researchers throughout their education and career, and to the commitment of scientists to work in the country using their creativity and ingenuity to compensate for the relatively limited resources.”

“Long hours and lots of competition”

Without hesitation, Professor Bouzat states that her greatest challenge was “having been able to successfully balance family - including an 18-month-old baby - with her highly demanding post-doctoral training at the Mayo Clinic in the USA.”

She also speaks of the “long hours and lots of competition” that are part and parcel of a research career and add to the demands of motherhood. This daughter and granddaughter of hard-working doctors nevertheless believes the rewards of having children are well worth the extra effort. “Women can be good scientists and women scientists can be good mothers.”

More about Cecilia Bouzat:

For Women in Science

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