Three Imperial researchers have been shortlisted in the 2021 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science UK and Ireland Rising Talents award.
The UK and Ireland Rising Talents Programme is designed to provide flexible and practical financial support, alongside tools and support, for early career women scientists to pursue their research. Five grants will be awarded to outstanding women postdoctoral scientists in the fields of Physical Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Computing, Life Science and Sustainable Development. Three of the ten women in the 2021 shortlist are from Imperial College London.
The fully flexible Fellowships are each worth £15,000 and are tenable at any UK or Irish university or research institute to support a 12-month period of research. The researchers are shortlisted based on remarkable research and excellent academic records, and on how the Rising Talents grant will enhance their careers.
The Imperial researchers in this year’s shortlist are:
Dr Claudia Contini
Dr Contini is a Research Associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Her research aims to set inanimate matter in motion at the nano and microscale, with a focus on the design of synthetic life-like systems that mimic biological properties and functions for biotechnological and biomedical applications, such a drug delivery in the body.
On her nomination, she said: “It is a great honour to have been shortlisted for the prestigious L’Oréal and UNESCO UK for Women in Science Award. The award is a unique initiative in support of women working at the forefront of scientific research and aspiring for a career in science. Being among the 10 national shortlisted scientists is a wonderful recognition for my proposed research in bottom-up synthetic biology for the creation of artificial motile protocells, which will pave the way for applications in clinical and industrial settings.”
Dr Paz (Upasana) Tayal
Dr Tayal is an Academic Clinical Lecturer in the National Heart and Lung Institute and a cardiologist. Her research focuses on heart muscle diseases (cardiomyopathies), using specialist imaging, genetics and clinical studies to understand why people get the condition and how we can improve outcomes for patients.
Dr Tayal will study the differences in the epidemiology, risk factors, and genetics between men and women with a heart muscle condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. Her aim is to improve the diagnosis, treatment and survival for all patients with this condition.
Speaking about her nomination, she said: “I'm very humbled to be shortlisted amongst such talented scientists. This nomination is particularly special because it is in such a diverse field, beyond medicine. I'm very excited to be given the opportunity to share my science with such a broad audience.”
Dr Jess Wade
Dr Wade is an Imperial College Research Fellow in the Department of Materials. Her research concerns new materials for optoelectronic devices, such as the LEDs used in TV and phone screens, with a focus on chiral organic semiconductors. Outside of the lab, Dr Wade is involved with several science communication and outreach initiatives. She is committed to improving diversity in science, both online and offline.
On being nominated, she said: “I am thrilled to be considered for this honour from L’Oréal: the other finalists are exceptional and the support would truly help to accelerate my research on chiral materials. It is fantastic to have such a prestigious programme that champions women scientists, and I cannot thank the Department of Materials, Imperial or L’Oréal enough for the opportunity to be part of it.”
The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science partnership was founded in 1998. Through its various editions across the world, the programme aims to help empower more women scientists to achieve scientific excellence and participate equally in solving the great challenges facing humanity.
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