Prof. LI Lanjuan awarded UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in Life Sciences

2022-03-16 ZHANG Jinmei - ZJU Global Communications

Prof. LI Lanjuan, director of the State Key Laboratory of Infectious Diseases Diagnosis and Treatment at the First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, and a member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, has been honored with the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences in recognition of “her innovative approach to dealing with infectious diseases including COVID-19, influenza and severe viral hepatitis.”

Prof. Li is only the second Chinese to win this international prize, which recognizes individuals who have made significant efforts through scientific research towards improving the quality of human life. She developed the theory of microecology and highlighted the significance of the microbiome, which has had a considerable impact on the management of infectious diseases. She has also created a unique artificial liver that has improved the quality of life of patients suffering from severe liver disease and liver failure. Her ground-breaking work in the fight against infectious diseases was recognized by a grand prize of the State Science & Technology Progress Award in 2017.   

Speaking at the award ceremony via video link on March 14, Prof. Li extended her gratitude to all the contributors and expressed her resolution to promote human welfare. “There are still many unsolved problems in infectious diseases. Global health crisis requires us to work together. I will not forget my original intention and continue to fight against infectious diseases,” said Prof. Li.

The Prize, funded by the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, was established by UNESCO’s Executive Board to support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as UNESCO’s global priorities. It is given annually to a maximum of three laureates. The other two winners of the sixth edition of the Prize are Prof. Christofer Toumazou, a professor of engineering and chair of biomedical circuit design at Imperial College London, and Dr Chad Mirkin, George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry and director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University. The first Chinese winner of the Prize is Nobel laureate TU Youyou, who received the 2019 Prize for her research into parasitic diseases.