Women In Science Fellows

L’Oréal USA Announces 2019 For Women In Science Fellows

Five women in STEM will each be awarded $60,000 by the beauty leader to advance important postdoctoral research

Fellows of this year’s program, now in its 16th year, represent diverse disciplines, from neuroscience to paleoceanography

L’Oréal USA today announced the recipients of the 2019 For Women in Science (FWIS) Fellowship, which annually awards five female postdoctoral scientists grants of $60,000 each to advance their research. This is the 16th year of the program, which to date has recognized 80 postdoctoral female scientists with over $4 million since 2003.

Courtesy of L’Oréal USA.

The For Women in Science program is rooted in L’Oréal’s core belief that the world needs science and science needs women, because women in science have the power to change the world. The program provides funding and support during a critical time in female scientists’ careers. Although the number of women in science is increasing, there remains a “leaky pipeline,” with significant career drop-off happening during the years between postdoc and tenure track. In addition to grant funding, fellows receive mentorship, media training, career coaching and recognition.

The 2019 For Women in Science fellows are being honored for their important research across a wide range of fields, from neuroscience to paleoceanography:

  • Aparna Bhaduriwhose research in neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco focuses on understanding the different cell types that make up the human brain and how specific cell types are targeted in glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, as well as a range of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Laurie Bizimana, whose research in biomedical engineering at Cornell University is working toward developing an innovative, non-invasive technique for harnessing signals from the brain, with the goal of restoring functions lost due to neurological disorders, comas, paralysis and even loss of limbs.
  • Samantha Bovawhose research in paleoceanography at Rutgers University studies past changes to Earth’s climate in order to improve our current knowledge of how Earth will respond to future climate perturbations.
  • Lisa Poulikakos, whose research in materials science and engineering at Stanford University is focused on advancing technology that can enable on-the-spot, accurate and cost-effective diagnosis of tissue biopsies, including breast cancer and other serious diseases.
  • Christine Rodenwhose research in RNA biology at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill seeks to understand how disrupted RNA structures can result in diseases like ALS or cancer, with the potential to improve treatments for these types of diseases.

“The meaningful scientific progress being made by this inspiring group of researchers reminds us how important it is to promote female representation in STEM fields,” said Frédéric Rozé, Executive Vice President, L’Oréal Americas. “We are proud to help support the staying power of scientists who are not only changing the world through their work, but are serving as role models for the next generation of women.”

“The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship grant gave me time to complete new research projects and publish additional papers, both critical to pursuing an academic position,” said Dr. Jaime BarnesAssociate Professor of Geological Sciences in the University of Texas at Austin School of Geosciences and 2007 FWIS fellow. “Because of this fellowship, my research and funding profile were strengthened, making me a more competitive candidate and ultimately helping me secure a tenure-track position at a top academic institution.”

L’Oréal USA will recognize the 2019 fellows at an awards ceremony hosted by CBS Evening News Anchor and Managing Editor Norah O’Donnell at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C on Thursday, November 7th.

The ceremony serves as a capstone to a week of dedicated programming for the For Women in Science fellows; earlier events in Washington, D.C, include:

  • A convening hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine to discuss the keys to “staying power” for women in science, followed by a series of panel discussions on best practices for retaining women in STEM careers
  • A roundtable discussion at the National Academies featuring high-level leaders in STEM at the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and with distinguished members of the National Academies
  • An afternoon dedicated to STEM career discovery and mentorship with the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) Internship program
  • A visit to Capitol Hill for a discussion with leading Congressional staff on science policy and careers

The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science program is the U.S. component of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards, a global program created in 1998 that recognizes and rewards women scientists around the world. Through the international program and the nearly 50 national and regional programs—which includes the For Women in Science program—more than 3,100 female scientists from more than 110 countries have received fellowships to pursue promising research projects.

The 2019 For Women in Science fellowship candidates were evaluated based on their intellectual merit, research potential, scientific excellence and their commitment to supporting women and girls in science. The L’Oréal USA fellowship program includes a requirement to ensure recipients are committed to serving as role models for younger generations. Applications were reviewed by experienced scientists in the candidates’ respective fields through a partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which manages the application process.

The 2019 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellows (full bios):

Aparna Bhaduri, Neuroscientist, University of California, San Francisco
Aparna Bhaduri is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco.  Her research focuses on understanding the different cell types that make up the human brain and how specific cell types are targeted in disease. This research will provide important insights into glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, as well as a range of neurodegenerative diseases. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide Bhaduri funding to further her research with advanced single-cell sequencing technology as well as support a symposium for high school girls that she and colleagues are organizing. Bhaduri, 31, received a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at Stanford University and a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology/B.A. in Political Science at Rice University. Originally from Milwaukee, Bhaduri loves living in the Bay Area with her husband where they enjoy biking, rock climbing and exploring new restaurants.

Laurie Bizimana, Biomedical Engineer, Cornell University
Laurie Bizimana is a postdoctoral fellow in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. Bizimana is developing an innovative non-invasive technique for detecting and decoding brain activity that will improve brain-machine interface (BMI) technology. With the advancement of BMIs, scientists will be able to harness signals from the brain to restore functions lost due to neurological disorders, comas, paralysis and even loss of limbs. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide Bizimana the funding to hire a research technician, greatly increasing the amount of time she can dedicate to the instrumentation and analysis of her laboratory work. As a self-titled “mom-scientist,” Bizimana plans to use her platform as a FWIS fellow to advocate for and be a positive example to women who are considering motherhood alongside a scientific career.  Bizimana, 30, received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from New York University and a B.A. in Chemistry from Drew University. Originally from New Jersey, Bizimana lives in Ithaca with her husband and young son.

Samantha Bova, Paleoceanographer, Rutgers University
Samantha Bova is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Marine and Coastal Sciences Department at Rutgers University. As a paleoceanographer, Bova analyzes sediment from the ocean floor in order to understand past changes in Earth’s climate. In July 2019, Bova led a team of 33 scientists on a month-long ocean expedition to study the response of the Patagonian icefields to abrupt climate change and sustained periods of warmer than usual temperatures. This research will improve current understanding of how Earth will respond to future climate perturbations. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide Bova with funding for laboratory analyses and student lab assistance, allowing her to produce higher-resolution records of climate and icefield variability. As part of her fellowship, Bova will continue her outreach and mentorship work within the Rutgers community, at local elementary schools and liberal arts institutions, inspiring girls to consider careers in oceanography. Bova, 31, received a Ph.D. in Earth, Environmental and Planetary Science as well as an M.S. in Geological Sciences from Brown University and an A.B. in Earth and Planetary Science from Washington University in St. Louis. A native of Pennsylvania, Bova lives in Philadelphia with her partner where she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, running, soccer and yoga.

Lisa Poulikakos, Materials Scientist and Engineer, Stanford University
Lisa Poulikakos is a postdoctoral fellow in Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University. Her research focuses on developing new material platforms which can bridge engineering and medicine with the science of light. Currently, Poulikakos is developing an all-optical technology that can enable on-the-spot, accurate and cost effective diagnosis of tissue biopsies, beginning with breast cancer but with the potential to be applied to Alzheimer’s and other serious diseases. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide Poulikakos with funding to pursue this line of research including the purchase of equipment. Inspired by the opportunity to work with two female scientific leaders during her fellowship, Poulikakos will also organize an outreach event for Women in Biomedical Optics to motivate the next generation of women scientists and highlight their exceptional contributions made thus far.  Poulikakos, 31, received a Ph.D., an MSc and a BSc in Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich. Born in Chicago, Poulikakos moved to Zurich when she was eight years old and returned to the U.S. for her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford in 2018. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the Bay Area, swimming and running on Stanford’s campus, and visiting San Francisco’s art museums.

Christine Roden, RNA Biologist, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Christine Roden is a postdoctoral fellow in Biology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Roden, an RNA biologist, is studying how large cells use RNA structure to organize their content.  When the organization of these contents is disrupted, it can result in diseases like ALS or cancer.  By improving the understanding of how this happens, Roden’s research may ultimately lead to improved treatments for these types of diseases.  The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide Roden the resources to spend time learning new techniques for RNA profiling and hire an undergraduate aspiring scientist to assist her with experiments and data collection. Roden, 32, received a Ph.D. in Genetics at Yale University and a B.S. in Biology at University of Pittsburgh. Originally from Pennsylvania, Roden currently lives in Chapel Hill where she enjoys drawing, painting and spending time outdoors.

About L’Oréal USA
L’Oréal USA is the largest subsidiary of the L’Oréal Group, the world’s leading beauty company. L’Oréal USA manages a portfolio of more than 30 iconic beauty brands, including Garnier, Giorgio Armani Beauty, Kérastase, Lancôme, La Roche-Posay, L’Oréal Paris and Yves Saint Laurent Beauté. L’Oréal USA also serves as the international hub for the product development and marketing strategy for L’Oréal’s 22 American brands: AcneFree, Baxter of California, Carol’s Daughter, CeraVe, Clarisonic, Color&Co, Dermablend, essie, IT Cosmetics, Kiehl’s, Matrix, Maybelline New York, Mizani, NYX Professional Makeup, Pulp Riot, Pureology, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Redken, Seed Phytonutrients, Softsheen-Carson, SkinCeuticals and Urban Decay. Generating more than $7 billion in sales annually, L’Oréal USA is committed to growth through sustainable innovation, driven by the company’s Sharing Beauty With All ambition for sustainable development across the Group’s value chain. The company is headquartered in New York City, employs more than 11,000 people, and operates administrative, research, manufacturing and distribution facilities across 14 states, including ArkansasCaliforniaFloridaKentuckyNew JerseyOhioTexas and Washington. For more information, visit www.lorealusa.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @LOrealUSA.

About For Women In Science
The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science (FWIS) fellowship program awards five women postdoctoral scientists annually with grants of $60,000 each for their contributions in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields and commitment to serving as role models for younger generations. Since 2003, L’Oréal USA’s FWIS program has supported 75 outstanding female postdoctoral scientists from across the country, awarding them nearly $4 million in grants. L’Oréal USA partners with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to manage the program’s application and peer-review process.  The program is the U.S. component of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards, a global philanthropy created in 1998 that has recognized and rewarded over 3,100 women scientists from more than 110 countries.

About AAAS
Founded in 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science, engineering and innovation for the benefit of all people. With more than 120,000 individual members in more than 91 countries, AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and a leading publisher of cutting-edge research through the Science family of journals. As one of the top voices for science worldwide, AAAS spearheads initiatives in policy, international cooperation and diplomacy, STEM education, public engagement, and more. AAAS strives to promote and defend the integrity of science and its use, provide a voice for science on societal issues, and strengthen and diversify the science and technology workforce. More information is available at www.aaas.org.

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