Vivian Salazar, a life devoted to science

But who is Vivian Salazar and why was she awarded? | Colombian women and science

Although lately women have been given their place in the production of science, it has not been easy for them. Did you know Only 29% of researchers in science worldwide are women? (Icetex, 2020). So, when their work is recognized, like in the case of Vivian Salazar, we have reasons to celebrate

But who is Vivian Salazar and why was she awarded?

Vivian Salazar is a 40-year-old Colombian bacteriologist doing her post-doctoral research at Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá. In 2008, Vivian did her master’s degree in Human Genetics at Universidad Javeriana. During her master’s studies, her research focused on evaluating:

  • Frogskin peptides’ antibacterial.
  • Antiviral activity.

Later, her project centered on products with added value for one of the leading agricultural products of Colombia: sugar cane. In this context, she investigated the benefits of panela, a product from sugar cane, to treat Parkinson’s. Vivian’s research on a treatment for Parkinson’s is a promise for the approximately 10 million people worldwide living with Parkinson’s (Parkinson’s Foundation, n.d.).

Apart from investigating panela, Vivian has also researched neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that is very common in infants, with more than 700,000 cases annually in the United States (American Cancer Society, n.d.).

In 2020, Vivianwas awarded “For Women in Science” by Unesco and other institutions. She received monetary funds to continue her research on panela and Parkinson’s. So far, she has only done experiments in vitro, but if the findings continue to be solid, she will experiment with humans in a few years.

Vivian has published more than 20 academic papers in scientific magazines between 2008 and 2020 (Google Académico, n.d.). To have so many publications is unusual because not many women have the opportunity of devoting their life to science.

Colombian women and science

Real Colombian women are prominent in many fields, including science. Lately, these scientists have become notorious.

Apart from Vivian Salazar,we haveAdriana Ocampo, a science program manager at NASA; Ángela Restrepo, a microbiologist, specialized in fungi; Nubia Amparo Muñoz, a renowned epidemiologist working in the field of cervix cancer, and Diana Trujillo, an Aerospatiale engineer also working for NASA, to name just a few (Impacto TIC, 2021).  

Women producing science is an advance for humankind because the position of women measures the development of a society. With awards like those given by Unesco to women in science, Colombian women will have the opportunity to take hold of this field and thus contribute to the development of the country, an essential element for peace.   


American Cancer Society. (n.d). Key Statistics About Neuroblastoma.

Google Académico. (n.d). Vivian Angélica Salazar Montoya.

Icetex. (2020). El programa para las mujeres en la ciencia en su decimoprimera edición reconocerá catorce científicas colombianas por sus grandes aportes.

Impacto TIC. (2021). Mujeres TIC: 10 colombianas líderes en ciencia.

Parkinson´s Foundation. (n.d.). Acerca de la Enfermedad de Parkinson.