Colombian physician and pathologist from the University of Valle, Cali. Subsequently he studied virology and epidemiology at the National Institute of Cancer (NCI) in Bethesda and at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, United States.
She has worked throughout his career in the “International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC)”, a WHO agency in Lyon, France, where she lives since 1970. There, she conducted numerous research projects on cancers related to infectious agents, such as gastric cancer and helicobacter pylori, cancer of liver and hepatitis B and C viruses, and, about all, cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV). Those viruses represent an important health problem, especially for developing countries.
Dr. Muñoz has been dedicated for over 35 years to the investigation of cancer of the cervix and its relationship to HPV, leading studies in about 40 countries across the world, including Colombia and Spain, as head of a epidemiology unit in the IARC. Today, these studies are considered the most solid evidence proving that not only HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer, but a necessary cause. Thanks to these studies pharmaceutical companies developed prophylactic vaccines against certain types of HPV. His leadership in these studies also took the International Epidemiology Association to postulate her for the prize Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008. It is the first time that a Colombian scientist is postulated for this Nobel Prize.
She has published more than 390 articles in international journals, has edited a dozen books and monographs, and has presented more than 1,200 communications to congresses. She is a member of the editorial committees of seven international journals.
She has received important national awards of the University of Valle; of several medical societies and the Valley of Colombia, in the city of Cali; of the Congress of Colombia; and Doctorates Honoris Causa from the University of Antioquia, Universidad del Valle and McGill University. In Colombia she is Professor Emeritus of the National Institute of Cancerology; and Honorary Member of the National Academy of Medicine. Internationally, she received the title of “Distinguished Alumni” and was appointed member of the “Society of Scholars” from the Johns Hopkins University. She has received numerous prestigious awards such as: “Distinguished Epidemiologist” of three societies of epidemiology of the United States; the prize “Sir Richard Doll” from the International Association of Epidemiology; the prize “Bruchbacher” in Cancer Research for the the Brupbacher Foundation in Zurich; the “Canada Gairdner Global Health award” of the Gairdner Foundation of Canada; the Frontiers of Knowledge Prize of the BBVA Foundation. She received the Medal of Honor of the IARC in Lyon. She was named “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur”, the highest honor awarded by France; and received “The Cross of Boyacá”, the highest honor of Colombia.
She has been invited to deliver several Honorary Conferences such as at Harvard School of Public Health, at Columbia University, and at the universities of Michigan and Miami.