She was born on June 19, 1957, in Mexico City and presently resides in Cuernavaca, Morelos. She holds several degrees and a PhD in Basic Biomedical Research from the Autonomous University of Mexico. She is married and has two children. She is a renowned virologist, specialized in the rotavirus and promoter of virology topics. Together with her husband she was awarded the Microbiology Prize Carlos J. Finlay, which was granted her by UNESCO in 2001. Also, in 2012 she received the LÓréal-UNESCO Prize for “Woman in Science 2012” for her research through which she identified the modus operandi of the rotavirus. WHAT IS THE ROTAVIRUS The discovery of the rotavirus dates back to 1976. Dr. López Charretón started to study them four years later, as part of her thesis for her degree in Basic Biomedical Research, when knowledge of the rotavirus was scant. “Back then it was a newly discovered virus. And since my education was in molecular biology, we focused in molecularly characterization of how it enters the cell and multiplies within it”, remembers the expert. Now, thanks to her work (and that of about 100 groups of researchers in the world that work with it) more details of the agent are known. One of the most relevant findings was that the rotavirus has three layers of proteins, but it lacks an external lipid wrapping (fatty material) which surround other types of viruses, such as influenza. It was observed that they replicate only in cells located at the tip of the villi of the small intestine, but they do not affect others in its trajectory. “In order to infect a person it has to go through the mouth, mucous, skin, but it does not infect any of the cells in those zones, only those of the small intestine. This is very peculiar and that is why we have worked for a long time to comprehend what the virus sees in those cells that it does not find in others.” The rotavirus is a very important organism throughout the world, because it produces a common infection which provokes intense diarrhea in children, from birth until five or six years of age, and may cause death by dehydration. The work of Dr. López Charretón – international scholar of the Howard Hughes Institute – has focused on analyzing how the rotavirus is capable of recognizing the cells it infects, “she also researches how it reproduces once in it, which are the mechanism it employs and what genes are important for it to happen. Viruses need cells to replicate which is why they infect the cell and eventually destroy it”. The focus has been on research on the rotavirus at various levels, with strategies of molecular, cellular, biochemical biology and more recently with genomics. Together with Carlos Arias, they formed the IBt rotavirus group, one of the most important in Mexico. Awards and acknowledgements Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Research Scholar 2005-2010 (2005) Award Funsalud for Gastrointestinal Illnesses, Mexican Foundation for Health (2002) Award Carlos J. Finlay Microbiology UNESCO (2001) Award from the Scientific Research Academy for Natural Sciences (1993) – Medal “Gabino Bareda”-UNAM (1988) – Scholarship Fogarty (VII-91 al VIII-92) – Research at the Technological Institute of California, Pasadena, California (1981-1983)