Nubia Muñoz


Development Cooperation

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Development Cooperation category goes, in this tenth edition, to the Colombian epidemiologist Nubia Muñoz, whose work was instrumental in establishing that infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is the principal and necessary cause of cervical cancer. Her studies played a catalytic role in the development of anti-virus vaccines capable of preventing 70% of all cervical cancers, a disease where 80% of cases involve women in developing countries.


Nubia Muñoz (Cali, Colombia, 1940) earned a medical degree from the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia, going on to specialize in pathology. She completed a fellowship in pathology and virology at the National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, United States) and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health (Cancer Epidemiology) from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (United States). In 1969 she joined the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Lyon, France), where she rose to the rank of Chief of the Unit of Field and Intervention Studies. She is currently Emeritus Professor of the National Cancer Institute of Colombia and a consultant to the Epidemiology Research Program at the Catalan Institute of Oncology (Barcelona, Spain), the Ministry of Health and Social Protection in Colombia and the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (Cuernavaca, Mexico).