MADRID (AP) — U.S. biologists Jeffrey Gordon, Peter Greenberg and Bonnie Bassler won Spain’s Princess of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research for 2023 on Wednesday.

The Princess of Asturias Award jury said the three were chosen for their contributions to research into the essential role of communities of microorganisms in life on earth.

The panel said Gordon had “spearheaded the discovery and understanding of the human microbiome,” the vast number and diversity of microorganisms that live in the body and which play essential roles in health.

Greenberg and Bassler have been acclaimed for their work in revealing mechanisms of communication between bacteria.

The jury said the work of all three was “enabling innovative therapeutic applications and the search for new effective treatments against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

Gordon is professor in the department of Medicine and Biological Chemistry at Washington University in Saint Louis, Mo.

Bassler is chair of Princeton University’s Department of Molecular Biology and Greenberg is professor of microbiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wa.

All three are members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and have won numerous awards.

They were chosen from among 40 candidates of varying nationalities.

The 50,000-euro award ($53,000) is one of eight prizes covering the arts, communication, literature, and other areas that are handed out annually by the foundation.

The prizes are ranked among the most prestigious in the Spanish-speaking world. The awards ceremony takes place each October in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo.