MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay has one of the “planet’s most powerful” scientific communities in the area of biomedicine, researcher and this year’s Mexican Science and Technology Award winner, Rafael Radi, told EFE.
“We have (in Uruguay) a formidable team of researchers ... that we’ve maintained over the course of many years and that gives us tremendous power on the world level. In our area (of biomedicine) we’re among the planet’s most powerful teams,” the Uruguayan said.
Radi, 53, works at the University of the Republic of Uruguay (Udelar) School of Medicine along with his team studying molecular, biochemical and cellular mechanisms by which free radicals, oxidants and nitric oxide are involved in causing cells “to go from being healthy to being sick.”
He was recently awarded Mexico’s science and technology prize for his contributions in his chosen area. The prestigious award has been bestowed each year since 1990 by Mexico’s president in a special ceremony.
“It made a real impact on me because I was informed that there had been 52 nominations from 12 countries from all areas of knowledge, ... but winding up in first place was very surprising,” he said.
Meanwhile, he was selected for admission to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a recognition that only a small group of scientists receive each year after an internal selection process by the entity. He is the first Uruguayan to be so honored.
“There are some basic phenomena that we understand that later could be applied to the understanding of different diseases,” he said, adding that the work is “very prestigious (and) really helps make Uruguay visible in science” work.
He is one of the main figures in scientific development in his homeland, being a founding member of the Uruguayan Academy of Sciences in 2009 and says that Uruguay has been developing its scientific potential with a process of “very high” quality control to “move to the next level.”