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A leading Panama-based scientist has been named as winner of an annual award for international scientific cooperation granted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Mahabir P. Gupta of the University of Panama will receive a prize of US$5,000 for promoting scientific advances across Latin America and harnessing biodiversity as a source of new drugs.

Gupta, who comes from India, is the international coordinator of a natural products drug recovery programme at the University of Panama, as part of which thousands of plant extracts from 19 Latin American countries have been screened for compounds to treat diseases.

He is also executive director of the Interciencia Association, a federation of 17 associations dedicated to the promotion of science in the Americas.