L’Oréal fellowships recognise life-transforming work

29 August
2012 L’Oréal Australia and New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowship recipients (credit: L’Oréal Australia/sdpmedia.com.au)
2012 L’Oréal Australia and New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowship recipients (credit: L’Oréal Australia/sdpmedia.com.au)

The L’Oréal Australia and New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowships for 2012 were awarded to three remarkable young scientists from Melbourne and Christchurch on Tuesday 21 August.

It’s the first time the $25,000 Fellowships have been open to New Zealand scientists with the 2012 Fellowships being awarded to:

Dr 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 said.

Dr Baohua and her team are front-runners in the fiercely competitive global race for high efficiency, low cost solar energy. 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 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.

After surviving leukaemia as a teenager, Kylie Mason now 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.

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.

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