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Silvia Restrepo will be honored at the Jakob Eriksson Award 2023. Photo: UniAndes
Silvia Restrepo will be honored at the 2023 Jakob Eriksson Awards. Photo: UniAndes

Colombian woman wins Jakob Eriksson Prize in plant science

Silvia Restrepo's research is centered on diseases affecting cassava and potato crops.

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The Jakob Eriksson Prize is the main award for those pushing boundaries in plant pathology. One of this year's winners is Colombian scientist Silvia Restrepo, who will be recognized during the International Congress of Plant Pathology, in Lyon, France. This was revealed in an official communication from the awards.

Restrepo is the second woman to receive the award and the 13th Colombian to win in almost 100 years. 

Her work is focused on the bacterial infection of cassava, caused by Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. manihotis.

"She was the first to develop and apply molecular markers to understand population structure and evolution. She also helped producers to create cassava varieties resistant to the pathogen, which considerably reduced the losses of Latin American farmers, who were forced to burn their crops year after year because of the disease," reads the website of the Universidad de Los Andes, where she is Vice Rector for Research and Creation.

Restrepo has also participated in other large-scale collaborative projects, such as Laboratoire Mixte International and GROW Colombia, where she has demonstrated her talent in coordinating different areas of scientific research, team organization and co-creation opportunities for different disciplinary and cultural contexts. 

The professor "has used her creative ideas to build bridges with other Colombian and international universities," in addition to creating a specialization program in bioinformatics and a graduate program in computational biology at UniAndes. 

The award Restrepo will receive is given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards a gold medal at the meeting of the International Society for Plant Pathology (ISPP). The Prize was created in 1923 to honor the memory of Jakob Eriksson, a prominent Swedish mycologist and plant pathologist.  

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