Maria Mota, a researcher at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon is the winner of the 2013 edition of the prestigious Pessoa Prize.
The jury of the Pessoa Prize highlighted Maria Mota's contribution to malaria research and "her enthusiastic commitment to what can be called citizenship of science," as founder and former president of the Associação Viver a Ciência, which aims to encourage philanthropy in Portugal.
Maria Mota, selected in 2012 for an FCT Researcher contract, leads the Malaria Unit of the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM). With a degree in Biology from Porto University, she gained her PhD at University College London, where she began studying the mechanisms by which the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, infects and survives in host cells, causing this devastating disease. After a very successful post-doctoral research period at the New York University Medical Center, he returned to Portugal, to the Gulbenkian Institute of Science, before taking up his current position at the IMM.
The award recognizes the exceptional scientific career of Maria Mota, who has published several important studies in leading scientific journals. She has received numerous national and international awards from institutions such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (USA), the European Research Council, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.