L’Oréal recognises three young scientists from Melbourne and Christchurch for their life-transforming work

The $25,000 L’Oréal Australia and New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowships for 2012 have been awarded to three remarkable young women scientists from Melbourne and Christchurch. It’s the first time the Fellowships have been open to New Zealand.

Find below brief profiles on the 2012 Fellows. Below each is a link to their full citation.

Giving patients more control of their lives:
Dr Suetonia Palmer, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand

Suetonia is challenging the status quo for kidney disease treatment and helping millions of people with chronic kidney disease take back control of their lives.

Working from temporary facilities as Christchurch rebuilds, she is guiding doctors and policy makers across the world as they attempt to make the best decisions for their patients.

“I believe we can do much more to help people with kidney disease feel better, get back to work, and give them control of their own treatment,” she says.

For her full citation click here.

More efficient solar cells with quantum dots:
Dr Baohua Jia, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

The global race for for high efficiency, low cost solar energy is fierce. Baohua and her team are front runners in that race.

Using Baohua’s knowledge of nanotechnology they have already created thin-film solar cells that increase efficiency by 23 per cent, and two patents have been lodged. Baohua thinks she can do much much better.

Thin-cells efficiently capture visible light but miss the ultraviolet light. But quantum dots can convert ultraviolet to visible light. So she is developing thin-cells with embedded quantum dots. Her team is working closely with Suntech Power, the world’s largest producer of silicon solar modules.

For her full citation click here.

New treatments for blood cancers:
Dr Kylie Mason, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research/Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

Fifty years ago your chances of surviving leukaemia and other blood cancers were low. Today your chances are much better. But the treatments still take a long time and have significant side effects. And some adult blood cancers are still very difficult to treat.

As a teenager Kylie Mason survived leukaemia. Today she both treats and researches blood cancers. She is developing a new group of anti-cancer drugs that build on our understanding of why cancer cells ‘forget to die’. Some are already in clinical trials in Melbourne. Her work has also suggested a way to extend the life of platelets, the cell fragments that manage blood clotting.

For her full citation click here.

About the Fellowships

This is the sixth year of the Australian Fellowships and the first year they’ve been open to New Zealand scientists. The Fellows were chosen from 142 applicants by a panel of scientists comprising: four past L’Oréal international laureates (Professor Suzanne Cory, Professor Jenny Graves, Professor Margaret Brimble, and Professor Ingrid Scheffer); two past Fellows (Dr Erika Cretney and Dr Tamara Davis); and CSIRO’s Dr Cathy Foley.

The Fellowship funds are intended to further the Fellows’ research and may be used for any expenses they incur, including childcare. The program is part of L’Oréal’s global support for women in science.

The Fellowships will be presented by Johan Berg, CEO of L’Oréal Australia and New Zealand, at Comme, 7 Alfred Place, Melbourne at 6 pm on Tuesday 21 August.

Full profiles, photos and broadcast-quality vision of the winners are available at password-protected pages at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/loreal. For a password, interviews, and further information please contact:

  • Natalie Perkov, Corporate Communications Manager, L’Oréal Australia, + 61 (421) 007-911, nperkov@au.loreal.com
  • Tanya Abbot, Communications Manager, L’Oréal New Zealand, +64 (21) 678-497, tabbott@nz.loreal.com