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Faculty honored by World Economic Forum

Marcos Simoes-Costa has been honored by the World Economic Forum as one of its 2018 Young Scientists, which recognizes top researchers under age 40. Photo by Robert Barker / University Photography.

Assistant professor Marcos Simoes-Costa is among 50 scientists under the age of 40 named Young Scientists 2018 by the World Economic Forum.

The scientists, according to the WEF, are honored for their contributions to advancing the frontiers of science, engineering and technology. They are selected from all regions of the world and from a wide range of disciplines.

Simoes-Costa, assistant professor of molecular biology and genetics and a Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences, focuses on decoding the molecular programs that control cell differentiation during embryonic development. To study this process, he investigates the genetic and molecular underpinnings of the formation and diversification of a stem-cell population called the neural crest that gives rise to diverse cell types such as nerve cells, bone and pigmented cells of the skin.

As a South American scientist, Simoes-Costa feels strongly about the need to promote diversity in academia – both to accelerate the democratization of knowledge and to enrich the scientific debate and promote creativity.

The WEF also recognized Cornell assistant professors Ilana Brito and Michael Niemack. The three will participate in the forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions, Sept. 18-20 in Tianjin, China. The event brings together more than 2,000 business and government leaders, as well as leaders from media, academia and civil society, to explore the influence of technological changes on global economic, political, societal and environmental challenges.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.