The annual Fellowships programme provides £15,000 of flexible financial support for outstanding female postdoctoral researchers to continue research in their fields, as part of a wider L’Oréal-UNESCO programme aimed at supporting and increasing the number of women working in STEM professions in the UK, where 85% of jobs are held by men.
Dr Beth Psaila (WIMM-NDCLS) is a haematologist examining the role of blood cells in the bone marrow, known as megakaryocytes, in a rare but fatal disease called Myelofibrosis which destroys the bone marrow. Most patients live for fewer than five years after diagnosis, and 20% develop blood cancer. Current treatments help symptoms but do not cure the condition or improve survival. The condition is triggered by a mutation in a key gene called JAK2, and better understanding how the disease develops at a genetic level could help in the design of new treatments.
Dr Steve Shiel, Scientific Director at L’Oréal UK & Ireland, said: “Now in its tenth year, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme remains as important as ever. Women still face significant barriers to STEM careers, from a shortage of female role models for young children to a lack of support once on their chosen career path. Science needs women, and as a company founded on science, we are committed to ensuring more women are able to enjoy long and successful careers in science.”
Professor Dame Carol Robinson, Head of the Judging Panel and a L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Laureate, said: “These awards are well known in the science community and are always fiercely contested because of the vital support they provide. Each of our finalists is working on innovative and ground-breaking research, so selecting the winners was a tough task for the judges, but we are delighted they can now benefit from this support at a crucial stage in their careers, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their research in the future.”