L’Oréal honours women in science

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science 2016For 18 years, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme has encouraged, promoted and honoured women scientists all over the world.

More than 2 500 researchers from 112 countries have been distinguished for their extraordinary discoveries and supported at key moments in their careers. Impacting the lives of people worldwide, their discoveries are offering new solutions and answering vital questions. The research work of the fellows is contributing towards curing diseases, increasing food supplies and enabling sustainable development. They are also helping to ensure the survival of our planet, to better understand our universe, while adding to our knowledge of the very foundations of life. 

‘Our changing world has never been in greater need of women and their discoveries. With the For Women in Science programme, the L’Oréal Foundation is committed to promoting these women in science who will change the world. We are determined to fight for science and to build a more beautiful world together,’ says Sandeep Rai, MD, L’Oreal South Africa.

Celebrating Africa’s female scientists

As part of the programme, 14 female scientists from across sub-Saharan Africa have been honoured for their work and impact in the scientific field. This year applications were received from 26 countries which are testament to the increasing awareness of the programme and L’Oréal’s commitment to advancing women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.    

The recipients of the post-doctoral fellowships of €10 000 each are:  

  • Stephanie Fanucchi, South Africa, University of Cape Town and CSIR; title of project: Deciphering the roles of non-coding RNAs in immune gene regulation 
  • Raquel Garcia, Angola, Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University; title of project: Effects of plant invasions on native ectotherms under a warming climate

The recipients of the doctoral fellowships of €5 000 each are: 

  • Penelope Dobrowsky, South Africa, University of Stellenbosch; title of project: Legionella species persistence mechanisms in treated harvested rainwater
  • Usisipho Feleni, South Africa, University of Western Cape; title of project: Smart bio-electrochemical sensing and signalling of inter-individual responses to breast cancer treatment
  • Xandri Schoultz, South Africa, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University; title of project: Novel rhenium-benzazole complexes as anti-cancer agents 
  • Juliet Sackey, Ghana, University of South Africa (Unisa); title of project: Biomimicry of the multi-scaled architecture on selected butterfly wings for photonic applications
  • Millicent Akotam Agangiba, Ghana, University of Cape Town; title of project: Investigating E-government accessibility for persons with disabilities in developing countries – the case of Ghana
  • Madina Mohamed Adia, Uganda, Makerere University; title of project: Bioactivity, toxicity and phytochemistry of selected medicinal plants used by Rukararwe and Prometra herbalists in treatment of malaria in Uganda
  • Luicer Anne Ingasia Olubayo, Kenya, University of Witwatersrand; title of project: Construction and functional characterisation of genotype E of Hepatitis B virus replication competent plasmids with authentic endogenous promoters
  • Angela Karoro, Uganda, Unisa; title of project: Solar selective properties of the laser treated tubular cobalt-alumina nanocomposite
  • Bibi Nafiisah Chotun, Mauritius, University of Stellenbosch; title of project: Hepatitis B virus-related liver cancer in South Africa: Investigations into the risk profile of a previously unscreened population from the Western Cape
  • Colette Njiki Chatue, Cameroon, University of Dschang; title of project: Petrogenesis of the Numba granitic pluton (SW – Cameroon)
  • Rokhiya Dia, Senegal, Université de Thiès; title of project: Numerical simulation of velocity and pressure fields for fluid flow through microtubes with complex geometries: Application to the flow dynamics of cerebrospinal fluid along a shunt device in patients with hydrocephalus pathology
  • Eseoghene Umukoro, Nigeria, University of Johannesburg; title of project: Experimental and computational study of the electrochemical and photo-electrochemical oxidation of organic pollutants at carbon based-semiconductor composite electrodes

Empowering women to change the world

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science sub-Saharan Africa programme in partnership with UNESCO’s African Network of Scientific and Technological Institutions has reached many females across the continent.

The prestigious ceremony where fellows were presented with the fellowship took place on the 28 September at The Venue Greenpark, in Johannesburg. The keynote address was delivered by the international laureate from the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Award, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, associate scientific director: CAPRISA, PI: CAPRISA Clinical Trials Unit, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology Columbia University and Honorary Professor in Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal. Professor Karim was chosen from the Africa and Arab States region for her remarkable contribution to the prevention and treatment of HIV and associated infections, greatly improving the quality of life of women in Africa.

The recently launched manifesto For Women in Science has already been signed by numerous people across the world. This manifesto aims to take a stand against the under-representation of women in the sciences. It is available here, and everyone is invited to support the cause.

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