L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science South African National Young Talents Programme, which supports young female scientists has awarded six post-doctoral fellows a research grant of R160 000 each in its second edition of the awards.
Created in 1998 and led by the Fondation L’Oréal in partnership with UNESCO, the For Women in Science programme aims to improve the representation of women in scientific careers, strong in the conviction that the world needs science, and science needs women.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have wide spread impact globally and we all had to adjust to the “new normal”. Ultimately, science will provide solutions for many of the unprecedented challenges that the world is currently facing. This is why L’Oréal and UNESCO have been empowering young female scientists for 22 years, more than 3,400 researchers from 118 countries have been supported and recognized.” explains Gilles Antoine, Country Manager of L’Oréal South Africa.
“Women in science have the power to change the world provided they are given the means and support. This year, as we honour six emerging women scientists from across South Africa, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting young women scientists, who are at the helm of very important research projects,” he concludes.The challenges humanity is currently facing are unprecedented in scale. It is clear that science is and will be one of the keys that enable us to address them, as it always has been at important moments in history.
The six female researchers, three doctoral and three post-doctoral were selected from over 150 applicants, by a jury of independent experts.
Each post-doctoral award winner will receive a research grant of R160 000.
Dr. Simone Richardson
National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)Antibody Immunity Research Unit, University of the WitwatersrandDr. Richardson is investigating how diverse antibody functions that target and eliminate infected cells can be harnessed to protect against COVID-19 in HIV infected individuals. This is crucial to understand for COVID-19 vaccine design and efficacy in South Africa.
Dr. Vundli Ramokolo
Health Systems Research Unit/Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, South African Medical Research Council
Dr. Ramokolo’s research explores what factors make some children – such as those that are affected by HIV and those that live in impoverished households – more vulnerable to poor health outcomes.
Dr. Charissa Naidoo
Clinical Mycobacteriology & Epidemiology (CLIME), Stellenbosch University
Dr. Naidoo’s research shows how – even before antibiotic treatment – patients with TB have a unique gut microbiome: this could lead to innovative diagnosis tools and more accessible treatments.
Each PhD candidate will receive a research grant of R80 000
Institute of Applied Materials, University of PretoriaIn the field of renewable energy Bianca Gevers’ research focuses on material development for photocatalytic water-splitting: the use of sunlight to produce hydrogen and oxygen from water, using photo-active catalysts.
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)Sibongile’s research could potentially lead to the local establishment of liver models that represent Sub-Saharan Africa, and fulfil the essential need for diverse representation in pre-clinical research.
Human Variation and Identification Research Unit, School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the WitwatersrandKimberleigh seeks to establish why people suffer from knee injuries, pain and osteoarthritis. Her research looks to answer this question by looking at the trabecular or spongey bone of the patellofemoral joint (between the bottom part of your thigh and your kneecap).