Ozimbek’s “mother” who fought not to be excluded from history

Ozimbek’s “mother” who fought not to be excluded from history

Recognition, which is not always associated with professional success, has come to Svetlana Mozhsov during three-quarters of her life. Born in Skopje (Macedonia), when it was Yugoslavia 76 years ago, she studied chemistry and moved to the United States in the 1980s with her husband, Brazilian immunologist Michel C. Nussenzweig. Then, at Massachusetts General Hospital, he identified the peptide GLP-1, synthesized it and studied its function, as well as developing antibodies against some of its sequences.


There, the Princess of Asturias Prize for Scientific Research, awarded by Ozimbec, began to take shape, the pharmaceutical miracle that defined the pre- and post-war against type 2 diabetes and obesity. Four colleagues also received the award: Daniel J. Drucker, and Jeffrey M. Friedman, and Joel F. Habner, and Jens Jules Holst.

All five are world leaders in the field of endocrinology, but only Moisov had to stand up and chant “Not without my name.” It was in 2021, when he heard the announcement of Canada’s Gairdner International Prize, a prestigious award for biomedical research. The prize was awarded to three scientists (Joel Habner, Daniel Drucker, and Jens Jules Holst) for their work in the field of diabetes and obesity drugs, which have risen dramatically in popularity in recent years. There is even speculation about a Nobel Prize, but this narrative of scientific discovery is missing an important piece: Moisov herself.

He stayed out


The Gairdner Prize (worth approximately €67,000) was the third major prize awarded to the trio to exclude a researcher. “It upset me very much. I still don’t understand how I was excluded from it,” Moisov told Science magazine, echoing the battle that started the scientist, the chemist who published the first major research papers. Then the struggle to obtain her place began, as the Princess of Asturias Foundation stated in its summary of the merits of the researcher.

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In September 2023, the same Science magazine published an article warning against excluding Moisov from history. The researcher never ran her own laboratory, and after her revolutionary discoveries, she stayed out of the spotlight, publishing studies much more sporadically than the rest of her peers.

Corrected articles

His claim was successful and went further: he asked for articles that appeared in media outlets such as The New York Times, Nature, and Cell to be corrected. Since then, she has received VinFuture Awards in the category of Innovators with Outstanding Achievement in Emerging Fields, or the most recent Pearl Meister Greengard Award from Rockefeller University, whose endowment will go to the Women and Science Initiative of Rockefeller University. In addition, she was included with Habner, Drucker and Holst on Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people in health for 2024.


Next October, Moiseov will receive the Princesa Prize in Oviedo, an award he deserves as much as his colleagues, but he has struggled for much outside the lab. “I don’t know her biography in detail, but unfortunately, what happened to her happens often and is known. When they are female researchers, many of their achievements are attributed to their teachers or teams. As for the men, says Teresa Valdés, of the Commission for Women and Science of the Supreme Council for Research. Scientific (CSIC), personality is usually more pronounced.

“There are some areas of science where these inequalities occur less frequently, and many of us hope that they will gradually be overcome,” Maria adds. “But it is undeniable that this has been a reality, and in the clinical field more regularly.” Fernandez, CSIC delegate in Asturias.

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