Double win for Oxford in 'Women in Science' awards

Double win for Oxford in 'Women in Science' awards

Two out of four of this year’s L’Oréal UK and Ireland Fellowships For Women in Science have gone to Oxford University scientists. The Fellowships celebrate the achievement of exceptional female scientists in the UK and Ireland.

Emily Flashman and Monika Gullerova received their awards at a ceremony held on the evening of 28 June at the Royal Society.

The L’Oréal UK and Ireland Fellowships For Women In Science were launched in January 2007 and aim to promote the importance of ensuring greater participation of women in science. The £15,000 awards are given to promising female scientists to help them further their research in their chosen fields.

Emily Flashman, of Oxford University’s Department of Chemistry, said: ‘The award will support work I am doing looking at how one of the body's regulatory systems is damaged in cancer cells, causing it to be permanently 'switched on' and leading to rapid tumour growth. In particular, I am interested in whether antioxidants such as vitamin C can help overcome this damage.

‘I am thrilled to have won the award. The Fellowships are fantastic; they do a really good job of raising the profile of female scientists to the wider public, providing much needed role models for young women who are thinking of choosing a scientific career. ‘

Monika Gullerova, of Oxford University’s Dunn School of Pathology, is interested in how cells, as they grow and divide, make sure their chromosomes are distributed equally among the new cells formed.

As a cell divides, a ring shaped protein complex called cohesin is crucial in pairing up and aligning chromosomes before they are separated into the two new cells. Errors in this process are associated with various diseases in humans, and Gullerova is investigating how cohesin ensures alignment of two sister chromatids in the cell’s chromosomes to ensure the process works correctly.

Julie McManus, Head of Scientific and Technical-Regulatory Affairs, L’Oréal UK and Ireland said: ‘The L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women In Science awards recognises the excellent work which female scientists are undertaking and provides the financial support necessary to support women’s careers.

‘Past recipients of the awards have gone on to make important scientific discoveries and win Nobel Prizes, a huge feat when it is considered that only 2.5 percent of Nobel Prize winners are female. We hope that celebrating the success of these truly inspirational women will inspire the young girls of today to be the scientists of tomorrow.’

The Fellowships are run in partnership with the UK National Commission for UNESCO, the Irish National Committee for UNESCO and the Royal Society of Great Britain.

This year’s other winners were Victoria Coker of the University of Manchester and Heather Whitney of the University of Bristol.

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