L’Oreal Fellowships Reward Women in Science

Profile One

When killing saves lives: our immune system at work

Dr Misty Jenkins spends a lot of her time watching killers at work: the white blood cells of the body that eliminate infected and cancerous cells.She can already tell you a great deal about how they develop into assassins and arm themselves.Now with the support of her L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowship Misty is exploring how they become efficient serial killers—killing one cancer cell in minutes and moving on to hunt down others.Her work will give us a greater understanding of our immune system and open the way to better manage T cells to defeat disease. More here

Profile Two

Dr Joanne Whittaker: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart

How Australia and India broke up—100 million years ago

Dr Joanne (Jo) Whittaker likes to solve jigsaw puzzles. Now this marine geoscientist is tackling the biggest puzzle on the planet—the formation of continents. With the help of Australia’s national marine research vessels, and now her L’Oréal Fellowship, Jo is reconstructing how the Indian, Australian and Antarctic tectonic plates separated over the past 200 million years, forming the Indian Ocean and the continents as we see them today. This information will help us model climate change better, find new gas resources, and understand the dynamics of the land in which we live. More here

Profile Three

Dr Kathryn Holt: Bio21 Institute, The University of Melbourne

Tracking the spread of deadly diseases

Dr Kathryn (Kat) Holt is using genetics, maths and supercomputers to study the whole genome of deadly bacteria and work out how they spread. Studying a typhoid epidemic in Kathmandu, she found that it didn’t spread in the way we thought epidemics did. Her research, published in Nature Genetics, will change how we go about responding to epidemics.With the support of her L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowship, Kat will be using the same techniques to understand how antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread in Melbourne hospitals. Are people catching these superbugs in hospital, or are they bringing the bugs into hospital with them? Can we give the intensive care clinicians early warning of a drug-resistant bacteria in their patients? More here

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