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Shout out for Cancer Research, and an awesome name- Dr. Suetonia Palmer August 24, 2012

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Shout out for cancer research. How do platelets help or hinder the process of treatment?

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University of Otago researcher Dr Suetonia Palmer is one of three recipients of a $25,000 L’Oreal For Women in Science Fellowship, awarded in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The other two are a Melbourne researcher who battled leukemia as a teenager and a scientist recognized for her work in nanotechnology.

Dr Palmer received the award for her work in chronic kidney disease.

Working from temporary facilities as Christchurch rebuilds, she is guiding doctors and policy makers across the world as they attempt to make the best decisions for their patients.

The fellowship will take her work further and help her study what information people receive when their kidney disease worsens and they have to go on dialysis.

That usually requires four hours a day, four days a week in hospital. However, in Christchurch most people have dialysis machines at home.

Dr Palmer will determine what is best practice.

She is also a senior lecturer in the Department of Medicine.

Dr Kylie Mason from Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute will investigate ways to reduce the side-effects of new cancer drugs and explore the role of platelets.

She has previously researched ways to extend the life of platelets, the cell fragments that manage blood clotting.

Cancer patients often need platelet transfusions but supply can be a challenge for blood banks because the cells only last five days.

Her work could pave the way to increase the blood bank life of platelets as well as helping cancer patients.

Her battle with leukemia sparked a lifelong interest and career in medicine and research.

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute director Dr Doug Hilton said Dr Mason’s personal battle with cancer had not only fueled her passion for medicine and research, but given her a unique perspective as a cancer patient, haematologist, scientist, and mother.

Melbourne scientist Dr Jia Baohua from Swinburne University of Technology was recognized for her role in developing low cost solar energy using nanotechnology to create thin-film solar cells.


Go Pam Maynard! July 9, 2012

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If blueprints aren’t your thing, it doesn’t mean you should rule out a career in Tech. There are such a wide variety of jobs in the field. Thanks for your insight, Ms. Maynard. And congrats on winning your First Women Award!

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By Pam Maynard

At the very end of last month Real Business announced the winners of the 2012 First Women Awards. Designed to recognize pioneering women whose achievements open opportunities for others, the awards showcase the wealth of career opportunities available for women in the science and technology sectors, aiming to inspire more women into the profession by highlighting the success of leading women in the field.

This year I was one of the lucky ones to be honored with a win in the First Women of Science & Technology category.

I have been in the technology industry for over 15 years and can truly say that I enjoy my work and always look to push myself beyond the boundaries – both real and perceived – of being a female in the sector. The sad fact however is that despite ongoing efforts, technology remains a less-thought of career path for female graduates.

The key misconception out there is that women simply can’t have a successful career in technology. This is absolutely not true and is something that we should all be working to change. We need to get more women into technology at an early age but to do so we need to be able to highlight powerful examples of women who are excelling in their careers. If you look at organizations in the UK like Capgemini, Accenture and Microsoft, and other FTSE 100 companies you can find very successful females with technology-focused careers – the challenge now is to make sure we are raising their profiles as high as they can go.

Another misconception about technology as a career is that it is very narrow in scope. In fact, a career in technology is so much broader – it is not just about developing technology solutions and technology companies do not have to be full of technologists. There is a huge set of different roles that sit around the delivery of a technology solution and require different skillsets. Whether it is project management or business analysis, these types of roles often come with an increased requirement for collaboration – one of the softer skills found more in women than men. If companies want to start bringing in more female talent, they need to get better at recognizing and defining the skillset they require from employees and reflecting this back in their recruitment efforts.

If I were going to use my recent win as a platform to speak to girls considering a career in technology my first piece of advice above all else would be for them to have confidence in their value. Today’s young women need to have more self-belief and recognize the value in the unique skills and experience that they can bring to the sector. Males and females bring different skillsets to any work place and a balanced gender mix is optimal for the success of any business.

South Africa: Google Accolade for Young Female Techies June 6, 2012

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Anita Borg is an active benefactor for young, mid-level, and senior career women in STEM. We feature their awards in our searchable database. Do YOU qualify? Find out at http://raiseproject.org!


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Recently named the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship recipients, Maletsabisa Molapo (24) and Joyce Mwangama (25) have a bright future ahead in the African Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) landscape.

The scholarship is an international award initiated by Google that seeks to recognise women in ICT who perform with distinction in sciences degrees. It also seeks to encourage and reinforce the presence and leadership of women in technological fields, who currently remain a minority. The scholarship comprises a financial award for one academic year and a networking retreat to Google in Zurich, Germany.

Molapo and Mwangama are two of the three women awarded this prestigious scholarship in South Africa. Both young women are currently enrolled at the university of Cape Town (UCT) pursuing ICT related degrees. Molapo pursues a Masters in Computer Sciences degree as a Mandela Rhodes scholar whilst Mwangama is a candidate for a Doctorate (PhD) in Electrical Engineering in her second year of research.


Citing the genesis of her passion for technology, Molapo reminisces about her undergraduate days at the University of Lesotho (NUL), where she completed a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Computer Systems and Networks in 2009. “I was the only female in my engineering class. I constantly felt the need to excel and be competent as a female in a male dominated class,” says Molapo.

Molapo ‘s interest in the application of ICTs in empowering communities, particularly women and youth, was the catalyst to her founding the National Association of Women in Technology in Lesotho whilst at NUL. The association seeks to cultivate a culture of academic and professional excellence among female technologists in Lesotho. “As students we used to visit high schools, citing our own stories in order to cultivate a culture of positivity towards academic and professional excellence. However, we noticed that girls did not do well in sciences and we challenged ourselves to make a difference,” says Molapo.

Mwangama on the other hand was born in Tanzania and migrated to Botswana at the age of 4. She currently holds a Bachelor of Sciences in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a Masters in Electrical Engineering both from UCT. Her interests include Next Generation Mobile Networks and Future Internet architectures and technologies. Talking of her vision for a robust African digital arena, Mwangama says her goals are not restricted by boarders. “The whole African digital and technological landscape is challenged. I believe mobile telecommunication is the next big thing and East Africa has understood how to utilise these for development,” she says. “Africa’s technologists must understand Africa’s difficulties and merge their creativity with technological advancement to solve our energy, internet, climate and social crises.


Both students are set on completing their current degrees and venturing into the tech-world in full force. Molapo’s research in the area of Information Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) and focuses on the use of mobile-videos to train low-literate health workers in Lesotho and Sierra Leone. She forms part of the executive leadership of the UCT Chapter of the United Nations Association of South Africa. She has been also been selected as a 2012 fellow of the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa (MILEAD). Her interests are in ICTs for the promotion of health and education and Data Visualisations.

Mwangama’s PhD research revolves around the concept of the evolution of Mobile Broadband Networks, which is gaining momentum in the communications and networking research field. She also works for the Electrical Engineering Department at UCT as a Research and Teaching Assistant. Outside academics, Mwangama is heavily involved in volunteer and leadership positions within at her university and within the local community. She has run the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) student branch at UCT. She is also the Pre-University Activities coordinator for the Africa region where she is involved in initiatives to promote engineering and sciences to high school learners.

By the looks of things, both young women have a bright future in the industry and are both looking up to the networks created through the Google scholarship and Zurich trips.

2012 Women in Science series features stem cell researcher June 5, 2012

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Highlighting Women in Science, a great series run through the University of Wisconsin, which points a well-deserved spotlight on female research.


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June 04, 2012 College News – The Medical College of Wisconsin’s 6th annual Women in Science series will feature Michele Battle, PhD, a stem cell researcher and Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, at the June 21 luncheon presentation at the Woman’s Club in Milwaukee. This presentation is geared for the lay public.

Dr. Battle will discuss recent scientific advances that make it possible to transform human stem cells into organ-specific cell types. She is using government-approved stem cells in her laboratory to study the formation of the gastrointestinal tract. The ultimate goal of her research is to discover stem cell-based therapies to restore the function of diseased or damaged organs.

Women in Science is an opportunity to meet outstanding female scientists and physicians and learn about their cutting-edge research. Series subscriptions are available for a suggested minimum donation of $250, which includes five presentations, and also supports two annual awards for promising women scientists. Admission, food and parking are included at all of the events in the series.

Dr. Battle’s luncheon presentation is sponsored by Anonymous Donors of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and held in cooperation with TEMPO Milwaukee. The event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Woman’s Club of Wisconsin, 813 E. Kilbourn Avenue.

The mission of Women in Science is to showcase outstanding research and provide financial support for women scientists at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Seven Scientists Win Kavli Prizes June 4, 2012

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Seven scientists whose work spanned the outer reaches of the solar system and penetrated the inner workings of brain circuits and nanotubes were named winners of the 2012 Kavli Prizes on Thursday. The $1 million awards, sponsored by the physicist, businessman and philanthropist Fred Kavli, are given every two years by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters for work in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience, “the biggest, the smallest and the most complex,” in the words of Mr. Kavli.

Mildred S. Dresselhaus, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, won the nanoscience prize for her research on carbon nanotubes, the chicken-wire wonder cylinders of pure carbon, and how they conduct heat and electricity. She is known around M.I.T. as “the queen of carbon,” according to her colleague Angela Belcher, who noted that she had been working on carbon fibers since the 1960s and had been able to predict the properties of nanotubes, which can be formed by rolling or twisting a sheet of carbon atoms only one atom wide, before they had been discovered in the lab.

Cornelia Isabella Bargmann of Rockefeller University, Winfried Denk of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, and Ann M. Graybiel of M.I.T. will split the neuroscience prize for work aimed at elucidating how the brain processes information from the environment. Dr. Bargmann has unraveled some of the logic of the neural circuits of C. elegans, a worm with only 300 nerve cells that is used in genetic research. Dr. Denk developed microscopy techniques that allowed researchers to make three-dimensional maps of the internal wiring in brain tissues.

Dr. Graybiel is an expert in the basal ganglia, structures in the forebrain that control movement and have been implicated in diseases like Parkinson’s and addiction. Her work, the academy said, shows how patterns of neural activity change and reorganize themselves as animals develop new skills or habits, both good and bad.

At a ceremony at New York University on Thursday morning, Dr. Bargmann was asked why we should study such a primitive worm. “The worms are our partners and collaborators,” she answered, adding that their systems are simple enough that “you can really try to understand the whole system at once.” Her research had shown, she said, that the brain has innate pathways that link certain signals to certain behaviors. For example, she said, “children are born knowing they like sweet things and reject bitter ones.”

The winners of the astrophysics prize will also split $1 million for exploring a hitherto unknown facet of the architecture and history of the solar system: a cloudy disk of ice and rock known as the Kuiper Belt. It looms outside the orbit of Neptune and contains at least 70,000 objects left over from the formation of the planets. David C. Jewitt of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Jane X. Luu of M.I.T.’s Lincoln Laboratory discovered the Kuiper Belt in the form of a slow-moving (meaning it was very far away) object in 1992.

The third winner of the astrophysics prize, Michael E. Brown of the California Institute of Technology, has discovered a series of massive bodies in the Kuiper Belt, including, in 2005, Eris, which is more massive than Pluto. His work led to a worldwide debate on the definition of planethood, which resulted in Pluto’s being dumped from the roster of planets and designated, like Eris and others, a dwarf planet.

The awards were announced by Nils Christian Stenseth, president of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, as part of a World Science Festival event. John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and President Obama’s science adviser, spoke about the administration’s efforts to cultivate a climate of innovation, citing the trip of the private Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.

MIT’s Amy Finkelstein Wins John Bates Clark Medal April 30, 2012

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By Neil Shah of the Wall Street Journal

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Amy Finkelstein won the American Economic Association’s John Bates Clark medal.

The economics profession’s most prestigious award after the Nobel Prize, the Clark medal is given every year to the nation’s most promising economist under the age of 40. It’s a good predictor of future Nobel Prize winners: Of the 34 people who have won the award since 1947 — the Clark used to be given biennially — 12 went on to the win the Nobel Prize later, including Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman. (One economist calls the Nobel Prize “the Clark with a 25-year lag.”)

The 38-year-old Finkelstein has focused on public finance, health economics and the insurance market.

In one experiment, she and other researchers tracked a group of low-income, uninsured adults in Oregon who were randomly picked to get — or not get — the chance to apply for public health insurance. Because it was a randomized controlled trial, the experiment sidestepped common pitfalls that researchers examining the effects of insurance face, including the tendency of sicker people — or unusually healthy people — to seek insurance.

The result: A year later, those selected by the lottery to be able to apply for Medicaid were more likely to have Medicaid, used more health care, had lower out-of-pocket medical expenditures and reported better physical and mental health.

Read original article here: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/04/27/mits-amy-finkelstein-wins-john-bates-clark-medal/

Lincoln Financial Foundation Awards Million-Dollar Grant to Teach For America Funds to increase number of STEM teachers for low-income schools January 30, 2012

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FORT WAYNE, Ind., Jan. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Today Lincoln Financial Foundation announced a $1 million grant over three years to Teach For America that will expand efforts to recruit new teachers with math and science expertise, and fund preparation and support to enhance these teachers’ effectiveness. The grant will benefit Teach For America’s national science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teacher-recruitment initiative, and includes grants for Teach For America’s sites in Connecticut and Philadelphia, where Lincoln Financial has major offices. Additionally, the two organizations will partner to maximize the leadership and impact of Teach For America alumni in STEM education and to expand educational opportunities for students in underserved schools.

Teach For America recruits, trains and supports top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in low-income urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity. Nearly one-third of the organization’s 9,000 corps members teach STEM subjects. This school year nearly 1,800 STEM teachers are impacting more than 130,000 students nationwide.

Lincoln Financial Foundation has sustained a strategic philanthropic program to improve the quality of life in the communities where the company maintains a significant business presence. By making education a priority, and specifically investing in initiatives that improve math and science skills, Lincoln Financial aims to increase high school graduation rates and college attendance.

Lincoln Financial Group President and CEO Dennis Glass commented, “There is substantial evidence that education is one of the most pressing issues in our country today. Too many Americans face significant hurdles when it comes to job readiness and economic self-sufficiency because they did not have access to quality schools, programs, teachers and mentors during their formative years. Teach For America helps to focus resources where they are most needed, creating a more solid foundation for future generations. At Lincoln, we have been committed for many years to expanding access to educational opportunities in our communities, and we are proud to join with Teach For America in this mission.”

According to the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, even though math achievement scores are improving across the board, the gap between low-poverty and high-poverty students has remained about the same over the past decade.

“We’re grateful to Lincoln Financial for their support of Teach For America corps members and alumni who are working alongside so many others to end the disparities that exist in math and science education,” said Wendy Kopp, founder and chief executive officer of Teach For America. “We are seeing an incredible moment of opportunity to enlist more top graduates with STEM degrees to bring their passion and commitment to our nation’s urban and rural classrooms. Lincoln’s partnership will help Teach For America seize this moment and inspire the next generation of leaders in math and science.”

About Lincoln Financial Foundation

The Lincoln Financial Foundation, established in 1962, is a nonprofit organization formed and supported by Lincoln Financial Group. Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation /quotes/zigman/232274/quotes/nls/lnc LNC +0.58% and its affiliates. Under Lincoln Foundation guidelines, grants are made in the areas of education, human services, workforce/economic development and the arts. The Lincoln Foundation awards approximately $10 million annually to nonprofits in the communities where Lincoln Financial Group maintains a significant business presence. For more information visit http://www.LincolnFinancial.com/Foundation .

About Teach For America

Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. Today, 9,000 corps members are teaching in 43 regions across the country, while nearly 24,000 Teach For America alumni continue working from inside and outside the field of education for the fundamental changes necessary to ensure educational excellence and equity. For more information, visit http://www.teachforamerica.org .

Pradel Research Award in Neuroscience Awarded to Dora E. Angelaki January 23, 2012

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Dora E. Angelaki, professor and chair of the department of neuroscience at the Baylor College of Medicine, is the recipient of the inaugural Pradel Research Award in Neuroscience. The $50,000 research award honors Angelaki for her fundamental discoveries on mechanisms of representation of vestibular sensory stimuli within the mammalian brain. Angelaki’s pioneering work has clarified how vestibular and visual signals combine to mediate perception and to direct appropriate motor behaviors. Her research findings have important implications in the design of more effective therapies to treat disorders of balance and movement.

Obama honors Mildred Dresselhaus with Fermi Award January 17, 2012

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MIT scientist shares one of the U.S. government’s most prestigious awards for scientific achievement with alumnus Burton Richter.

President Barack Obama has named MIT’s Mildred S. Dresselhaus and Stanford University’s Burton Richter ’52 PhD ’56 as winners of the Enrico Fermi Award, one of the government’s oldest and most prestigious awards for scientific achievement. The award, administered on behalf of the White House by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), carries an honorarium of $50,000, shared equally, and a gold medal.

“The scientists being recognized today with the prestigious Enrico Fermi Award have provided scientific leadership throughout their careers that has strengthened America’s energy and economic security,” Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said in a statement. “I congratulate them for their achievements as pioneers in innovative research and thank them for their service.”

Chu will present the award to Dresselhaus and Richter in a Washington ceremony on a date to be announced later.

In a career spanning more than 50 years at MIT and its Lincoln Laboratory, Dresselhaus has made extensive research contributions and fundamental discoveries in condensed matter physics. She is also widely recognized for her considerable devotion to mentoring students, raising community awareness, and promoting progress on gender equity. She is widely respected as a premier mentor and advocate for women in science.

Dresselhaus, Institute Professor Emerita of Physics and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has also served in many scientific leadership roles, including as the director of the DOE Office of Science; president of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science; chair of the American Institute of Physics Governing Board; and co-chair of the most recent Decadal Study of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics.

Born and raised in New York City, Dresselhaus was inspired as an undergraduate at Hunter College by future Nobel Laureate Rosalyn Yalow, who recognized her talent and encouraged her to pursue science. She received an A.B. summa cum laude from Hunter College in 1951, an A.M. from Radcliffe College in 1953 and a Ph.D. in 1958 from the University of Chicago. She was a Fulbright Fellow at Newnham College at the University of Cambridge from 1951 to 1952.

In its official award citation, the White House said Dresselhaus was selected for the Fermi Award “for leadership in condensed matter physics, in energy and scientific policy, in service to the scientific community, and in mentoring women in the sciences.”

Richter — who led the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center from 1984 to 1999 and is now the Paul Pigott Professor in the Physical Sciences, emeritus, at Stanford — was cited “for pioneering the development and application of electron-positron colliders, visionary leadership as Director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and important contributions in science and energy policy nationally and internationally.” He shared the 1976 Nobel Prize in physics with Samuel Ting, the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of Physics at MIT, for their co-discovery of the subatomic J/ψ particle.

Additional information about the Fermi Award is available at: http://science.energy.gov/fermi

Originally posted on MIT Press

A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute Establishes $100,000 Translational Science Prize December 21, 2011

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ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 20, 2011 —

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Physician-scientists worldwide will vie for the newly established $100,000 annual Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Science starting in 2012, the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute has announced.

The Taubman Prize will recognize work in the crucial field of translational research – research, like that supported by the Taubman Institute at the University of Michigan, which seeks to transform laboratory discoveries into clinical applications for patients suffering from disease.

The $100,000 award will be presented at the institute’s annual symposium, held each fall, to the clinician-scientist making the most significant contribution to translating basic research findings into medical practice. The winner will be asked to serve as keynote speaker for the event.

“This awards program is the next logical step for the Taubman Institute,” said Taubman Institute Director Eva Feldman, M.D., Ph.D.

“It complements our mission of supporting clinician-researchers as they strive to find cures and treatments that can move swiftly from the lab to patients, and it will bring even more eminent scientists to Ann Arbor to exchange knowledge and ideas with our Taubman Scholars and the U-M community,” says Feldman, who also is the Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology at U-M.

Nominations will be judged on their contribution to translating basic research findings into clinical applications and by the manner in which their clinical practice connects to their research. All clinician-scientists, regardless of country, are eligible, excluding U-M researchers.

The winner will be chosen each year by a national panel of distinguished scientists.

Self-nomination is permitted. Application guidelines and forms are online at http://www.taubmaninstitute.org; the deadline for all nominations is April 1, 2012.

About the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute: In 2007 Michigan businessman and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman provided the initial funds to establish the institute bearing his name at the University of Michigan Medical School. Its mission is to provide the university’s finest medical scientists the freedom, resources and collaborative environment they need to push the boundaries of medical discovery, to produce breakthroughs in cures to speed the development of effective treatment for some of the most devastating illnesses. Currently, 16 Taubman Scholars are advancing their research with the assistance of grants from the institute, which also established the Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the first embryonic stem cell facility in the state.

SOURCE University of Michigan Health System