Five of America’s most promising post-doctoral female scientists received the L’Oreal USA Fellowships For Women In Science Award. This national awards program was created in 2003 to support the advancement of women in science and rewards the most promising post-doctoral female scientists from across the country. This year’s awards presentation ceremony was held at the Kennedy Caucus Room in Washington, D.C.
Their research fields include stroke rehabilitation, therapeutic prevention for Alzheimer’s, robotics that will improve prosthetic fittings and function, LEDs and colored light creation, and the spread of influenza and other viruses. Each Fellow will receive up to $60,000 to continue their post-doctoral research. Additionally, the L’Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science offers professional development workshops for awardees and helps these Fellows build networks with accomplished female leaders in corporate, academic, governmental and scientific fields. The program is facilitated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
The 2011 L’Oreal USA Fellowship grants will support the following female scientists and their work:
Dr. Trisha Andrew
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA – organic chemist in the field of organic electronics.
During college, Dr. Andrew realized that she loved Organic Chemistry, both for the everyday routine of a synthetic organic chemist and for the ability to logically explain natural phenomena based on the chemical reactivity of molecules. The L’Oreal USA Fellowships For Women In Science award will help Dr. Andrew investigate the interaction of organic chromophores with interesting optoelectronic materials known as “quantum dots” and fabricate unique light-emitting diodes and solar cells from these composite materials.
Dr. Karlin Bark
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA – mechanical engineer in the field of haptics.
The L’Oreal USA Fellowships For Women In Science award will allow Dr. Bark to study the potential use of haptic feedback in stroke rehabilitation. She will work alongside clinical specialists at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute to develop, refine, and test an affordable upper-limb rehabilitation system that can be used in clinics and homes to assist stroke survivors in retraining the motor pathways needed to complete everyday tasks. Additionally, athletic coaches, dance trainers, and motor skill education specialists could adopt this technology to help teach proper motions and skills with the aim of achieving better technique and preventing future injuries.
Dr. Sasha Devore
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY – neuroscientist examining health sciences and technology.
With the support of the L’Oreal USA Fellowships For Women In Science award, Dr. Devore will employ techniques for selectively activating and recording from large ensembles of neurons in behaving animals in order to study the function of feedback pathways in sensory processing. Numerous neurological diseases and disorders are linked with dysfunction in the brain’s feedback pathways and are typically accompanied by impairments in sensory processing. Dr. Devore hopes that her experiments will lead to improved therapeutic interventions, in addition to providing important insight into the regulation of information processing in the brain.
Dr. Tijana Ivanovic
Harvard Medical School, with work to be carried out at the University of Colorado at Boulder – virologist in the research field of virus entry into cells.
The L’Oreal USA Fellowships For Women In Science award will enable Dr. Ivanovic to build a custom Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscope and use it to study the fusion mechanism of the influenza virus by visualizing the fusion process of individual virus particles in real time. The Fellowship will also fund additional equipment and reagents necessary to carry out experiments designed to address questions about fusion protein cooperativity during influenza membrane fusion.
Dr. R. Blythe Towal
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA – biomedical engineer in the field of computational neuroscience.
With the support of the L’Oreal USA Fellowships For Women In Science award, Dr. Towal will design and build novel instruments to measure human eye movements during normal, active-sensing behavior as opposed to the highly artificial conditions of the laboratory. These instruments will enable her to measure where people look and determine how the properties of the environment are combined with the goals of the person to allow them to perceive their surroundings and select appropriate actions under natural conditions. Dr. Towal hopes that these experiments will lead not only to improved robotic technologies but also to a deeper understanding of information processing in the nervous system.
The L’Oreal USA Fellowships For Women In Science is a national extension of the global L’Oreal – UNESCO For Women In Science program which, since 1998, has recognized 67 Laureates, two of whom received the Nobel Prize in 2009. The program has also awarded 864 International Fellowships which have been granted to young women scientists from 93 countries so that they can continue their research projects. The program has become a benchmark of scientific excellence on an international scale, revealing the contributions of these scientific women each year.