L'Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowships – December 2008 Bulletin

L’Oréal bulletins, Women in Science

In this bulletin

International Laureates

The winners of the 2009 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards were announced last week.

The five Laureates are:

  • Africa & the Arab States: Prof. Tebello Nyokong, Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Rhodes University in South Africa, for her work on harnessing light for cancer therapy and for environmental clean-up.
  • Asia-Pacific: Prof. Akiko Kobayashi, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry, College of Humanities and Sciences at Nihon University in Japan, for her contribution to the development of molecular conductors and the design and synthesis of a single-component molecular metal.
  • North America: Prof. Eugenia Kumacheva, Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto in Canada, for the design and development of new materials with many applications including targeted drug delivery for cancer treatments and materials for high density optical data storage.
  • Europe: Prof. Athene M. Donald, Professor of Experimental Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory in the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, for her work in unravelling the mysteries of the physics of messy materials, ranging from cement to starch.
  • Latin America: Prof. Beatriz Barbuy, Professor at the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, for her work on the life of stars from the birth of the universe to the present time.

The Laureates will receive their awards, which will include a US$100,000 prize, on 5 March, 2009 at a ceremony in Paris.

They were chosen from nominations made by a network of almost 1000 members of the international scientific community. A jury of 17 eminent scientists led by 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry recipient Professor Ahmed Zewail selected the final winners from the shortlisted applicants.

“It is a pleasure to be the president of the jury,” says Professor Zewail.  “There is no doubt that the programme’s goal of identifying women notable for their scientific excellence is of major importance to the future of science and our world.”

Update on 2007 and 2008 Australian Fellows

September and October were busy months for our L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowship winners.

September saw the 2007 Fellows wrap up their programs, while the 2008 Fellows got things underway after the excitement of receiving the awards in late August.

Natalie Borg (2008) says she has received several invitations to present her work around town, including seminars at Monash University and participation in the Careers Catwalk at the AusBiotech National Conference. And she’s parlayed a radio interview on 3RRR’s science show Einstein A GoGo into regular reporting.

Angela Moles (2008) says the Fellowship has made a huge difference to her research program already, with the recruitment of a top-flight PhD student from New Zealand to help out with the mimicry in the mistletoe project. She’s recently received an ARC Discovery Grant worth $730,000 and a QEII Fellowship to go with it. And the NSW government awarded her a Tall Poppy award. Appearances on ABC TV’s Catalyst and the Science Show have rounded out a flurry of media appearances following the awards ceremony in August.

Erika Cretney (2008) has already attended two conferences, one in Victoria and one in Beijing, China, thanks to her Fellowship. At the Chinese conference she was invited to give a plenary seminar, which she says is a great boost to the confidence as she only moved into the area of research into regulatory T cells a year ago. Her research is coming along nicely she says, and two papers have been accepted for publication. A guest spot on Einstein A GoGo has completed her media appearances following the award.

Amanda Barnard (2008) has purchased the most important software for her modelling and has begun work, thanks to a generous grant of supercomputer time from the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) National Facility in Canberra. Ever busy, she has also had five research papers accepted for publication, and has been awarded an ARC Discovery Grant and QEII Fellowship worth $775,000 to support her work on the environmental stability of nanoscale materials for catalysis and sensing and has started looking at platinum nanoparticle catalysts. She has also been a guest speaker on radio programs Einstein A GoGo, and Up Close, and was the speaker for the recent Women in Physics Dinner hosted by the Australian Institute of Physics.

Sarah Pryke (2007) has spent much of this year in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, where she has been testing whether the Gouldian finches will accept artificial breeding boxes in lieu of the increasingly scarce nesting hollows in eucalyptus trees. The project has been a resounding success and she is busy developing a nest box sponsorship program. Recent counts of the Gouldian Finch population resulted in a record high of more than 700 finches seen one morning at one waterhole. In between field activities, Sarah has taken on a new PhD student to look at the effects of fire on flora and fauna in the Kimberley, and presented her work both locally and internationally.

Ilana Feain (2007) has been continuing her research into the formation and evolution of supermassive black holes, including a local member, SS433, and Centaurus A, which is in a nearby galaxy. With the Global Jet Watch program, she has been instrumental in setting up a round-the-clock observation facility to monitor SS433 at a Sydney girls high school, Tara. The observation dome was completed in July and the telescope should be delivered and installed in a few weeks. The observation program will begin early next year. Ilana is also planning a conference in Australia to bring together Centaurus A researchers during the International Year of Astronomy next year. Her L’Oréal Australia Fellowship, she says, has had a big impact on her career, with a recent promotion to project scientist for the $100 million Australian SKA Pathfinder radio telescope being built in WA, as well as a growing reputation as an expert on astronomical matters.

Jenny Gunton (2007) has recently gone on maternity leave after the birth of Nicolas in late September.

Catriona Bradshaw (2007) has recently gone on maternity leave.

French Fellow in Australia

A French PhD student studying jointly at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and French research Institute INSERM at the Institut Gustave Roussy in Paris has been awarded a L’Oréal France-UNESCO For Women in Science Award to further her research into skin cancer. Marina Kvaskoff received her €10,000 award on November 17 in Paris. The award is the equivalent of the L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowship program.

Marina’s research under Prof. Adèle Green in the Cancer and Population Studies group focuses on possible hormonal, nutritional and genetic causes of cutaneous melanoma.

L’Oréal Australia Fellowships in 2009

L’Oréal Australia will offer three fellowships in 2009 valued at $20,000 each.

We will introduce a two-stage application in 2009 that will streamline the process for both applicants and judges.

All applicants will complete an online application. They will not have to collect references. Instead, we will contact only the referees of shortlisted applicants and seek closed references. We anticipate opening applications in April for one month. Shortlisted applicants will be notified by email mid-May and will have two weeks to send in supporting materials. The judges will make their final decision by mid-July.

More details will be provided early in 2009.