L’Oréal USA announced the five recipients of the 2015 For Women in Science Fellowship, which honors female scientists at critical stages of their career with $60,000 fellowships to advance their postdoctoral research. Two of the five winners, Sarah Richardson and Claire Robertson, are researchers in the Biological Systems & Engineering Division. Richardson (left), in the Fuels Synthesis Division of the Joint BioEnergy Institute, focuses on harnessing bacteria to make molecules that could lead to the development of new biofuels and medicines. Specifically, Richardson’s research on CRISPR and other bacterially derived tools for genome editing will make it easier for other scientists to implement biomanufacturing. Robertson (below), who performs research in cancer bioengineering, is using her background in imaging and biomechanics to better understand how the normal environment in the breast acts to suppress tumor formation through biophysical mechanisms. This research has the potential to rapidly reduce breast cancer mortality by mimicking these mechanisms with new drugs and improving prediction of when cancerous cells will grow or metastasize. Demonstrating their commitment to encouraging a love of science among girls and boys, both Richardson and Robertson are involved in outreach programs targeting minority and disadvantaged students.
The fellows will have the opportunity to engage with leaders from the broader STEM community the week of October 19th through visits to the White House to meet with female scientists from within the Executive Branch and Capitol Hill for a discussion with Congressional leaders about policy issues impacting women in STEM. The fellows will also participate in a mentoring session with female middle and high school students at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington’s Richard England Clubhouse in NEWashington, D.C., and tour L’Oréal’s Research and Innovation labs in Clark, New Jersey. The activities will culminate with an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, October 22, where the fellows will be honored in front of elected officials, policymakers, leaders in STEM and representatives from across the scientific community. To learn more about the program and other fellows, including Ming Yi in the Materials Sciences Division, please read the L’Oréal press release.