L’Oréal USA Celebrates 15th Year of For Women in Science Fellowship; Announces 2018 Class of Promising Scientists and Researchers Commitments

Five Fellows Will Each be Awarded $60,000 to Advance Important Postdoctoral Research

2018 FWIS Fellows Composite

NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2018 – L’Oréal USA today announced the recipients of the 2018 For Women in Science Fellowship, which annually awards five female postdoctoral scientists grants of $60,000 each to advance their research. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the program, which has recognized 75 postdoctoral female scientists with over $3.8 million since 2003.

The program is centered on L’Oréal’s belief that the world needs science and science needs women, because women in science have the power to change the world. The For Women in Science program provides funding and support during a critical time in female scientists’ careers. Although the number of women in science is increasing, there remains a “leaky pipeline,” with significant career drop-off happening during the years between postdoc and tenure track. In addition to providing vital grant money, For Women in Science fellows receive mentorship, career coaching, and media training.

From neuroscience to mechanical engineering, the 2018 For Women in Science fellows are being honored for their important research across a wide range of fields:

●          Amber Alhadeff, whose research in neuroscience at University of Pennsylvania is helping inform the way we think about treating obesity, eating disorders and type II diabetes.

●          Stacy Copp, whose research in soft matter physics at Los Alamos National Laboratory focuses on developing new materials that produce and manipulate light, with potential applications in biomedical diagnostics, solar energy, and energy-efficient lighting.

●          Brecca Gaffney, whose research in biomechanics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis studies the mechanics of human movement, and aims to improve treatment for patients who are seeking rehabilitation for an injury or movement disorder.

●          Fan Liu, whose research in infectious diseases at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard is focused on predicting how bacteria become antibiotic resistant, with the goal of designing new therapies and medicines to slow resistance in the future.

●          Elizabeth Trembath-Reichert, whose research in geomicrobiology at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is helping determine how life sustains itself in harsh conditions, potentially providing insight into how life evolved on Earth and where it could exist beyond our planet.

“I am inspired by the work this year’s For Women in Science fellows are doing, both in the lab and in their communities as role models for the next generation of women in STEM,” said Frédéric Rozé, President & CEO of L’Oréal USA. “At L’Oréal, beauty is based in science, which is central to our belief that science makes progress possible. On the fifteenth anniversary of the For Women in Science program, we proudly celebrate the groundbreaking scientific contributions of these female leaders.”

“The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship helped me establish myself as a successful researcher early in my career,” said Dr. Sridevi Sarma, 2008 For Women in science Fellow and Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Biomedical Engineering. “The funding accelerated my research on Parkinson’s Disease and honed my leadership skills, which led me to be a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2012 and has been critical to my current work on epilepsy.”  

L’Oréal USA will recognize the 2018 fellows at an awards ceremony hosted by CBS This Morning Co-Host Norah O’Donnell at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C on Thursday, October 25, 2018.

The ceremony serves as a capstone to a week of dedicated programming for the For Women in Science fellows; earlier events in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C, include:

●          An evening with L’Oréal USA and NPR’s Invisibilia, a science show hosted, produced, and edited by an award-winning team of women journalists, exploring the science of human strength and resilience. The event will unite the research of women scientists with engaging human stories that demonstrate how science and storytelling have the power to change the world. The event is open to the public and will take place at 7:30 pm on October 24 at NPR’s Studio One in Washington, DC; tickets will be available on September 26 here.

●          A roundtable discussion at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine, featuring high-level leaders in STEM at the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and with distinguished members of the National Academies.

●          An afternoon dedicated to STEM literacy with the New York Academy of Science’s Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program.

●          A visit to Capitol Hill for a discussion with leading Congressional staff on science policy and careers.

●          A lab tour of L’Oréal USA’s Research & Innovation facility in Clark, New Jersey.

As part of its efforts to further advance women’s participation and leadership in STEM fields, L’Oréal USA is announcing its support for a new study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Promising Practices for Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women in STEM. The 16-month study will be conducted by a distinguished committee of leaders and scholars and will identify strategies for removing the institutional barriers to women’s representation in STEM with a focus on highlighting the most successful policies and practices that have been effective in increasing women’s participation. The study’s results will be shared broadly given its important implications for stakeholders throughout academia, industry, government, Congress, and professional societies.

The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science program is the U.S. component of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards, a global program created in 1998 that recognizes and rewards women scientists around the world. Through the international program and the nearly 50 national and regional programs—which includes the For Women in Science program—more than 2,500 female scientists from more than 100 countries have received fellowships to pursue promising research projects. 

The 2018 For Women in Science fellowship candidates were evaluated based on their intellectual merit, research potential, scientific excellence and their commitment to supporting women and girls in science. The L’Oréal USA fellowship program also includes a requirement to ensure recipients are committed to serving as role models for younger generations. Applications were reviewed by experienced scientists in the candidates' respective fields through a partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which manages the application process.

The 2018 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellows (Full Bios)

Amber Alhadeff is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on understanding the neural circuits and molecular mechanisms that control food intake. This research will give scientists valuable insight into how to treat metabolic disease such as obesity, eating disorders and type II diabetes. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide Alhadeff funding to further her research, including support to hire two female undergraduate students. During her fellowship, Alhadeff will serve as a mentor to local middle and high school girls with a special focus on STEM. Alhadeff, 30, received a Ph.D. in Psychology/Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Alhadeff lives in Philadelphia where she enjoys running, biking, cooking, and baking.  

Stacy Copp is a postdoctoral fellow in Materials Physics and Applications at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her research focuses on creating materials that emit light or interact with light by using soft molecules, like DNA and synthetic polymers, as building blocks. These materials have potential applications for biomedical diagnostics, solar energy and energy efficient lighting. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide Copp the independence to pursue her research by supporting materials and laboratory equipment costs. Because Copp is committed to ensuring that women and other underrepresented students can become successful scientists, she has prioritized mentorship and science education throughout her career. As part of her fellowship, Copp will develop hands-on demonstrations to get local K-12 students excited about science. Copp, 29, received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a B.A. in Physics at the University of Arizona. A native New Mexican, Copp lives in Albuquerque with her husband and young daughter where she enjoys running, gardening, and spending time outside with her family. 

Brecca Gaffney is a mechanical engineer and postdoctoral research fellow in the Program in Physical Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Gaffney uses biomechanics, or the engineering-based study of the mechanics of human movement, to understand how motion affects the human body. By utilizing musculoskeletal modeling, her research aims to improve treatment for patients who are seeking rehabilitation for an injury or movement disorder. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide funding for Gaffney to pursue the link between chronic hip pain and the development of low back pain and to hire a female Biomechanical Engineering undergraduate research assistant. As part of her fellowship, Gaffney will also partner with the non-profit Mission: St. Louis by serving as a Beyond School mentor, where she works with low-income female high school students in math, science, and reading proficiency. Gaffney, 30, received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Denver, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Denver and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. Born and raised in Colorado, Gaffney played collegiate basketball and now lives in St. Louis, Missouri where she enjoys running, hiking, and spending time with her dog Gryff.

Fan Liu is a postdoctoral scientist in Infectious Diseases and Microbiome at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Liu is studying the evolution of antibiotic resistance in order to develop a new method to predict how bacteria might become resistant to antibiotics in the future. This research will help scientists design new therapies and medicines to slow down the pace of antibiotic resistance, a problem that now affects 2 million Americans each year. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide Liu funding to pursue this line of research including the purchase of equipment. Having benefitted from the support of a mother and grandmother who are both engineers, Liu is committed to providing young women hands-on experiences in STEM through the Strong Women, Strong Girls program in Boston. Liu, 30, received a Ph.D. in Chemistry at Harvard University and a B.S. in Chemistry at MIT. Born and raised in China, Liu moved to San Diego, California when she was 15 years old and currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she enjoys playing double bass and golf in her free time.

Elizabeth Trembath-Reichert is a postdoctoral fellow in Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Trembath-Reichert is conducting investigative research in the vastly unexplored deep biosphere -- the ecosystem that lies below the Earth’s surface -- to determine how life sustains itself in harsh conditions such as extreme pressure, temperature, or darkness. Specifically, her research on microbes could provide insight into how life evolved on Earth and where it could exist beyond our planet. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide her the resources to further her cutting-edge research while also serving as a critical bridge between her postdoctoral position and the work she plans to continue in the next stage of her career as an independent researcher at Arizona State University. She became interested in the natural world at a young age and is now helping to cultivate this passion in other scientists by serving as a mentor to undergraduate women and first-generation college students. Trembath-Reichert, 32, received a Ph.D. and M.S. in Geobiology at California Institute of Technology and a B.A. in Environmental Science and Physics at Barnard College. Originally from Durham, North Carolina, Trembath-Reichert currently lives in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and enjoys gardening, cooking, and spending time on the beaches of Cape Cod.