Beauty Meets Science

28 August

The world needs science. Science needs women.

The inaugural L'Oreal For Women in Science Fellowships were presented to four inspirational early career scientists on Tuesday 28 August 2008.

"We hope our $20 000 Fellowships will help these women consolidate their careers and rise to leadership positions in science," says L'Oreal Australia managing director Mark Tucker.

"The majority of science graduates are women," he says.

"But very few make it through the grind of study to establish careers in science."

The following four women were the recipients of the 2007 L'Oreal For Women in Science Fellowship:

Jenny Gunton - Jenny has discovered that people with diabetes have very low levels of Vitamin D. With the help of her Fellowship she will investigate the link. Is low Vitamin D a result of diabetes, or one of the causes?

Ilana Feain - Ilana will use her Fellowship to answer the question: ""What are black holes doing to the galaxies in which they live?"" Ilana is also enlisting two Australian girls' schools to contribute to a 24/7 program to observe a 'nanoquasar' and its associated black hole some billion billion kilometers from Earth.

Sarah Pryke - Sarah is studying the evolution and conservation of Gouldian finches in the Kimberley Ranges. The males have black, red or yellow heads. The red heads have more testosterone, are more aggressive and win the best nest sites. However they are poor fathers - too busy fighting to help with the young. With the help of her L'Oreal Fellowship Sarah plans to get a better understanding of their mating success - information that could be crucial to the survival of these endangered birds.

Catriona Bradshaw - Ten to thirty percent of women in developed counties, including Australia, suffer from bacterial vaginosis - causing miscarriages, premature births and increasing susceptibility to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Catriona will use her Fellowship to study the spread of the disease - working with young women as they become sexually active. Catriona hopes her work will lead to improved treatment regimes - benefiting women in the West and in developing countries.

"While L'Oreal is usually associated with the world of beauty and fashion, we spend $878 million on research and development annually and employ 2 900 researchers," says Mark Tucker, managing director of L'Oreal Australia.

"We recognise the need to encourage women to persist in their science careers. That's why this prize matters to us. We want to encourage and support women early in their careers - whatever those needs might be. And to promote them as role models, to encourage young women to stick with science."

For more information please visit either: www.scienceinpublic.com or www.loreal.com.au

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