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Conway researcher wins 2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO fellowship

Tuesday, 30 June, 2015 


Pictured (l-r): Dr Paola Crippa, University of Newcastle; Dr Aarti Jagannath, University of Oxford; Amandine Ohayon, Managing Director, L’Oréal Luxe UK & Ireland; Dr Tríona Ní Chonghaile, University College Dublin; Dr Rita Tojeiro, University of St Andrews; Dr Joanne Durgan, Babraham Institute, Cambridge. (Credit: L’Oréal UK & I 2015)

Pictured (l-r): Dr Paola Crippa, University of Newcastle; Dr Aarti Jagannath, University of Oxford; Amandine Ohayon, Managing Director, L’Oréal Luxe UK & Ireland; Dr Tríona Ní Chonghaile, University College Dublin; Dr Rita Tojeiro, University of St Andrews; Dr Joanne Durgan, Babraham Institute, Cambridge. (Credit: L’Oréal UK & I 2015)

Dr Tríona Ní Chonghaile, a postdoctoral cancer researcher in the laboratory of Professor William Gallagher has won a highly contested 2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO UK & Ireland For Women In Science fellowship at a ceremony this week at London’s Royal Society.

These fellowships promote and reward outstanding female postdoctoral researchers, offering flexible financial help. Each worth £15,000, the fellowship can be spent on whatever they need to help drive their research forward, a unique feature of these awards.

The competition was extremely tough this year with a record 350 candidates applying for the five fellowships. The five winners were selected by a jury of eminent scientists, chaired by Professor Pratibha Gai who was L’Oréal’s International Laureate in 2013. 

The only Irish scientist among the winners, Dr Tríona Ní Chonghaile spoke about her research to find an effective therapy for a subtype of breast cancer, called triple negative breast cancer that has a poor response to treatment.

After screening 30,000 small molecules, Dr Ni Chonghaile and her colleagues identified a molecule that could kill chemoresistant breast cancer cells more readily than the normal non-cancerous cells. 

“We are now trying to understand exactly how this small molecule works. How does it kill cancer cells selectively? We hope to improve the structure of the small molecule so that it can go from a molecule in the laboratory to potentially being a drug used in the clinic that has an impact on patient care”, said Dr Ni Chonghaile.

 

L’Oréal-UNESCO UK & Ireland For Women In Science Fellowship

17 years ago, L’Oréal joined forces with UNESCO to form a programme to encourage greater participation of women in the field of science. As well as the International Laureate programme there are now 46 national fellowship programmes running all over the world.

These fellowships promote and reward outstanding female postdoctoral researchers, offering flexible financial help. Each worth £15,000, the fellowship can be spent on whatever the individual researcher needs to help drive their research forward, a unique feature of these awards. The fellows also benefit from a raft of career and life enhancing experiences such as media training, personal impact coaching, speaking opportunities, networking events and access to senior mentors and role models.

2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO UK & Ireland For Women In Science Jury

Professor Dame Anne Glover, Vice Principal External Affairs & Dean for Europe, University of Aberdeen, Dr Beth Taylor, Vice- Chair, UK National Commission for UNESCO, Professor Gwyneth Stallard, Professor of Mathematics, Open University, Professor Helen Atkinson, Head of Mechanics of Materials Research Group, University of Leicester & VP RAE, Professor John O’Halloran, Chair of Zoology & Vice President, University of Cork, Professor Sir John Pethica FRS, Professor of Physics, Trinity College Dublin & Chief Scientific Advisor, National Physical Laboratory, Katriona Methven, Director of Scientific and Technical-Regulatory Affairs, L’Oréal UK & Ireland, and Professor Sue Black, Honorary Senior Research Associate, University College London.



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