Five international Laureates recognised; two weeks to apply for ANZ Fellowships

Bulletins, L’Oréal bulletins, Women in Science

Posted on behalf of Samantha Hass (Head of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand)

L’Oréal’s global For Women in Science program is in full swing for 2014.

In Australia and New Zealand we’re in the final stages of applications for our three $AU25,000 Fellowships. Please encourage your best early career researchers to apply by 16 April.

The Paris Spring has brought a fresh crop of Laureates, exceptional women, scientific leaders from the five regions of the world.

They are:

  • Japanese immunologist Professor Kayo Inaba
  • Ethiopian molecular plant pathologist Dr Segenet Kelemu
  • Argentinian neuroscientist Professor Cecilia Bouzat
  • French geneticist Professor Brigitte Kieffer
  • US immunologist Professor Laurie Glimcher

I’m also pleased to welcome Emma Gray, a young South African botanist who is undertaking a PhD at Macquarie University in Sydney. Emma was awarded a $20,000 UNESCO-L’Oréal For Women in Science International Fellowship, which supports talented young women scientists to study overseas.

Emma has been studying afforestation, when forests encroach on grasslands. For her PhD she will study the underlying factors – how a plant’s growth depends on its characteristics – the size of its leaves, or the thickness of its wood. It will contribute to models that could predict how climate change might affect ecosystems.

I’ve also included below details of some other opportunities that might interest you – including the Academy of Science’s awards for early and mid-career researchers.

In this bulletin:

Our 2013 ANZ Fellows at work

The Australian and New Zealand L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowships often become significant stepping stones in the careers of our winners. The 2013 Fellows are no exception.

Kat Holt – childhood diarrhoea

Kat HoltIn the past six months, Kat Holt has been awarded an NHMRC grant and a four-year fellowship worth more than $1 million, and was one of two scientists highlighted in the Prime Minister’s speech announcing the funding round.

She has also published a whopping 11 papers since receiving her L’Oréal Fellowship last year, including a paper in Nature Genetics and a first‐author paper in PNAS.

In addition to her lab work, Kat is using her number-crunching skills to advocate for women in science.

Read more about how Kat’s work is progressing

Jo Whittaker – rocking geophysics

Jo-300Jo Whittaker is working to understand how plumes of molten rock drive the movement of continents, and how the internal workings of the planet form the landscapes on the surface. A three-year, $389,339 ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award is allowing her to develop and strengthen collaborations with some of the world’s top researchers.

Jo’s planned voyage on the new Marine National Facility Vessel, the RV Investigator has unfortunately been postponed, but she’s hopeful that it will be rescheduled for 2015.

The voyage will help her understand the evolution of the Gulden Draak Ridge, a tiny submerged continent that was once a keystone in East Gondwana and was left behind when Australia, India and Antarctica drifted apart some 130-100 million years ago.

Read more about how Jo’s work is progressing

Misty Jenkins – targeting assassins

Misty-300Misty’s work on killer T cells continues, now supported by a NHMRC New Investigators Project Grant worth $606,226. She’s using live cell imaging to understand the underlying biology of these white blood cells, which recognise and destroy damaged or infected cells.

She hopes to identify new targets for therapies, which could help patients with certain cancers or immune deficiency disorders.

Her work has been published in the Journal of Immunology and eLife, a free online journal backed by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust. She will shortly be submitting a paper to the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Read more about how Misty’s work is progressing

Plant growth study: turning over a new leaf

Welcoming Emma Gray, 2014 UNESCO-L’Oréal For Women in Science International Fellow, to Australia

Emma Gray in South Africa

Deforestation hurts the environment and poses a threat to plants, animals and humans.

But afforestation is a problem too: for example, when grasslands turn into forest.

As a master’s student in South Africa, Emma Gray studied how the forests were creeping into the savannah. ‘Bush encroachment’ is a global phenomenon caused in large part by climate change, and Emma looked at how it affects biodiversity and the carbon cycle.

“I wanted to know what would happen to the ecosystem if we lost Africa’s great savannahs,” says Emma.

“Aside from the impacts on the water cycle, fire regimes, and plant biodiversity, I found that the zebras, lions and other iconic animals will struggle to graze, and tourism will struggle as it becomes more and more difficult for tourists to see the animals they came to see.”

Now, as a PhD student in Australia, Emma is looking at the basic science that underpins the growth of plants.

As a member of Ian Wright’s lab at Macquarie University in Sydney, her work will form part of a larger Australian Research Council funded project to understand how plant traits affect plant growth.

Read more about Emma’s research

Reminder: 2014 L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowships

Applications for this year’s Fellowships are still open, closing at midnight on Wednesday 16th April

Each year, L’Oréal offers three AU$25,000 Fellowships for outstanding young female scientists through their highly competitive L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowship program.  The Fellowships will be awarded to Australian or New Zealand women who have shown scientific excellence in their career to date.

To apply, visit:

The Fellowships are intended to help early career female scientists to consolidate their careers and rise to leadership positions in science, by providing funding for travel, equipment or childcare.

This year’s Fellows will join a cohort of 23 past Fellows, who’ve gone on to contribute significantly to their fields of science.

To get a sense of the qualities expected of entrants into this highly competitive Fellowship, we encourage potential applicants to read the profiles of past recipients at:

More prizes and awards for women in science

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Nominations close Thursday 29 May 2014

More details at:

Two past Fellows have gone on to win one of the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science. Five leaders in science and education will share in $500,000 worth of grants, which will be presented at a dinner in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra.

2015 Australian Academy of Science awards

Nominations close Thursday 17 April 2014

More details at:

The Academy recognises exceptional early to mid-career researchers with honorific awards in a dozen fields, from genetics to planetary science.

The Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science, recently awarded to marine ecologist Professor Emma Johnston, is also open now for 2015.

Eureka Prizes

Applications close Friday 2 May 2014

More details at:

At last year’s Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, we heard about: a ‘vaccine’ that stops mosquitoes from spreading dengue; a laser that knows when giant mining grinders will fail; lighter, strong armour for our troops in Afghanistan; and fatherhood – from a sea dragon’s perspective.

Several past Fellows have gone on to win Eureka Prizes.

And coming soon…