Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi is part of the dynamic duo that developed what's being called "The World's COVID-19 Vaccine."
She, along with Houston doctor Peter Hotez, who was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, worked together to create and distribute a low-cost COVID-19 vaccine, CORBEVAX, for low and middle-income countries.
"When we got the news of the nomination of the peace prize, it totally went viral in Honduras, just like it went viral in Italy, and went viral in the U.S," said Dr. Bottazzi.
Dr. Botatzzi grew up in Honduras and Italy. She lives in Houston now but said her international upbringing shaped her into the woman she is today.
"I think that's made me a stronger woman, but also a more empathetic woman who really understands how we – by we I mean people who come from many walks of life – have not only struggled but at the same time many advantages that puts us with a different cultural intelligence," Botatzzi said.
Dr. Bottazzi says she's always wanted to work in public health, even as a young girl.
Now, she and Dr. Hotez lead the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. She's also associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
The Latina scientist said she never really doubted that she could achieve great things because of the strong women who raised her.
"My father was raised by a single mother. My mom and her three sisters and my grandmother come from an entrepreneurial family," Bottazzi said.
Her advice for other women is to do what you love and always be good to the people around you.
That outlook has guided her to where she is today, nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to end a global pandemic.