Dr Silvia Restrepo is a highly motivated young scientist. Her work as a plant pathologist is focused on most important diseases that attack cassava and potato, studying the genetic and phenotypic diversity of the pathogens and their molecular interactions with their hosts.
"It is a great motivation to receive this Prize…It makes me feel responsible to keep contributing in my field of research. It encourages me to disseminate whatever knowledge I have and to help others fulfill their projects in my own country and other developing countries…"
She is constantly in search for alternative methods of disease control such as the use of natural compounds produced by enemies of pathogens. At the same time, she established close contact with Colombian farmers, thus allowing her to better understand issues they face, the limitations and strengths of Columbian agriculture that could be addressed and harnessed to improve production. Silvia is also a passionate teacher. She gives courses on basic sciences (cellular biology, plant pathology, fungi biology, genomics and bioinformatics) both at under-graduate and graduate levels. She carries weekly discussions with her students on assigned research articles.
Born in 1970 in Bogota, Silvia obtained her undergraduate degree in her native country in 1992. She moved to Paris in 1994 and obtained her MSc and PhD at the University of Pierre and Marie Curie. She is currently an associate professor at the University of Los Andes in Bogota.