(NAPSI)—Women in science are asking some important questions. What if stroke victims could learn to regain mobility in the comfort of their own homes? What if a way could be found to restore functions in a damaged brain? What if color could help supply electricity?
These are a few of the questions that the recipients of this year’s L’Oréal USA Fellowships For Women In Science Program are asking and working to answer.
The program helps raise awareness of the contribution of women to the sciences, and identifies exceptional female researchers in the U.S. to serve as role models for younger generations.
Here are the women who were selected by an interdisciplinary review panel and a distinguished jury of eminent scientists and engineers:
• Dr. Trisha Andrew, 26, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA—organic chemist in the field of organic electronics. The Fellowship will help Dr. Andrew investigate the interaction of organic chromophores with interesting optoelectronic materials known as “quantum dots,” which hopefully will lead to a different kind of solar energy.
• Dr. Tijana Ivanovic, 35, Harvard Medical School, working at University of Colorado at Boulder as a virologist studying virus entry into cells. The grant will enable Dr. Ivanovic to build a custom Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscope and use it to study the fusion mechanism of the influenza virus by visualizing the fusion process of individual virus particles in real time.
• Dr. Karlin Bark, 30, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA—mechanical engineer in the field of haptics. The Fellowship will allow Dr. Bark to study the potential use of haptic feedback in stroke rehabilitation. She will work alongside clinical specialists at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute to develop, refine and test an affordable upper-limb rehabilitation system that can be used in clinics and homes to assist stroke survivors in retraining the motor pathways needed to complete everyday tasks.
• Dr. Sasha Devore, 31, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY—neuroscientist examining health sciences and technology. With the support of the grant, Dr. Devore will employ techniques for selectively activating and recording the behavior of neurons in order to study the function of feedback pathways in sensory processing. Numerous neurological diseases and disorders are linked with dysfunction in the brain’s feedback pathways and are typically accompanied by impairments in sensory processing.
• Dr. R. Blythe Towal, 27, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA—biomedical engineer in the field of computational neuroscience. The Fellowship will allow Dr. Towal to design and build novel instruments to measure human eye movements during normal, active-sensing behavior as opposed to the highly artificial conditions of the laboratory. She hopes that these experiments will lead not only to improved robotic technologies, but also to a deeper understanding of information processing in the nervous system.
Entering its ninth year, this national program annually recognizes and provides support to five postdoctoral women researchers in the U.S. who are pursuing careers in the life and physical/material sciences, as well as mathematics, engineering and computer science. Recipients receive up to $60,000 to apply toward their postdoctoral research to further help them achieve their goals.
Since its inception, the program has awarded 40 Fellowships to women scientists across the U.S. Each year, the program attracts talented applicants from diverse scientific fields, representing some of the nation’s leading academic institutions and laboratories. The recipients attend an awards ceremony and professional development workshops, media training and receive networking opportunities. In 2012, these workshops, which are facilitated by the program’s partner, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), will encompass job search techniques, interviewing skills, budget development for grant requests and strategies for submissions to peer-reviewed publications.
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