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2003 Award for International Scientific Cooperation Recipient

2003 Award Recipients

AAAS Award for International Scientific Cooperation


Dr. Mahabir P. Gupta is the recipient of the AAAS Award for International Scientific Cooperation. He is honored for his continuous efforts in the promotion of international scientific cooperation in the Ibero-American countries and for the study and utilization of biodiversity as a source of novel pharmaceuticals for the benefit of all people.

Established by the AAAS Board of Directors in 1992, the AAAS Award for International Scientific Cooperation recognizes an individual for making extraordinary contributions to furthering international cooperation in science and engineering. The recipient receives $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.

Mahabir P. Gupta makes international scientific cooperation an integral part of his scientific career. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Rajasthan and his master’s degree from the Banaras Hindu University, both in India. In 1971, Gupta received his doctoral degree in pharmaceutical sciences from Washington State University. After an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship at the University of Munich, Germany, he became Research Professor of Pharmacognosy at the University of Panama. He has served as Founding Director of the Center for Pharmacognostic Research on Panamanian Flora, Dean of the School of Pharmacy, Director of International Technical Cooperation, and Executive Director of a cooperative loan program with the InterAmerica Development Bank on research strengthening. He currently serves as the International Coordinator of the Ibero-American Program of Science and Technology for Development (CYTED) Natural Products Drug Recovery Program, as a Research Associate with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and as the Executive Director of the INTERCIENCIA Association.

By securing cooperative grants from various international organizations, he made it possible for Panama to establish a research center for the study of the biodiversity of plants and train over 1,600 Latin-American scientists in natural products drug discovery. His participation in projects related to biopharmaceutical quality control led to increased demand for better standards for drug products in Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica and Panama. Since 1985, his leadership in CYTED has led to scientific cooperation among 19 Latin American countries, Spain and Portugal. This novel program convenes thematic networks and projects which draw participation of more than 1,300 scientists from over 250 research centers. Thousands of plant extracts from these countries have been screened to obtain compounds for the treatment of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, as well as depression. The research has produced more than 300 jointly authored papers and 40 doctoral degrees.

Dr. Gupta’s leadership of INTERCIENCIA Association, which he performs ad honorem, is another example of his devotion to promoting science through international cooperation. INTERCIENCIA is a federation of 17 associations for the advancement of science in the Americas, through which he has organized symposia on topics such as enthnobotany and bioprospecting, financing of science and technology in Latin America, and conservation of wildlife and wild lands. In addition, Dr. Gupta serves on the Board of Directors of the International Foundation for Science, which provides grants to young scientists from developing countries, and on the Plant Chemistry Group of the International Organization of Chemistry for Development. He is a member of the AAAS, the Royal Academy of Pharmacy (Spain), the Latin American Academy of Sciences, the National Commission of Biodiversity (Panama), Rho Chi, Sigma XI, the American Society of Pharmacognosy, the German Research Society on Medicinal Plants, and the Phytochemical Society of Europe.

Please click here for a list of past recipients.