Trinity Scientist Wins 2012 Women in Science Fellowship
Jul 02, 2012
Trinity College Dublin scientist and research lecturer in Chemistry, Dr Silvia Giordani has been awarded one of four prestigious 2012 L’Oréal-UNESCO UK & Ireland For Women in Science Fellowships (FWIS) for her research on a new avenue towards ‘smart’ medicines.
The fellowships promote the importance of ensuring greater participation of women in science by offering awards to outstanding female postdoctoral researchers. The awards are run in partnership with the UK National Commission for UNESCO, the Irish National Commission for UNESCO and the Royal Society.
Dr Giordani’s award was for her work on new developments towards ‘smart’ medicines. The on-going battle against serious and complex illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease requires improved methods for their diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and control. All these facets of modern medicine may be advanced by interfacing them efficiently with nanotechnology. A successful combination of biological systems and new nanomaterials will likely offer some advantages over conventional therapies, which could ultimately lead to more efficient and affordable healthcare.
This research project is geared towards the synthesis, characterisation and application of new nanoparticles that carry several key functions in one construct, thereby making them suitable as smart and responsive therapeutic vehicles. Each nanoparticle can essentially be viewed as a targeted delivery system, with the ultimate aim of producing a system capable of direct ‘communication’ between diagnostic, imaging and therapeutic functions located on a single biocompatible platform.
The strategy involves the functionalisation of ‘carbon nano-onions’ (concentric multilayer fullerenes), which can act as assembly-points for the different chemical functions that will, in turn, provide means for applications in medical imaging and drug delivery in biological systems. These carbon-based architectures have tremendous potential in biomedical applications thanks to their unique spherical shape, their infinitely small size and their chemical homogeneity.
The other 2012 recipients of the UK & Ireland L’Oréal UNESCO For Women in Science Awards are Dr Katrina Lythgoe, from Imperial College London; Dr Claire Spottiswoode, from the University of Cambridge; and Dr Geetha Srinivasan, from Queen’s University Belfast.
The four outstanding female scientists, who are all working on postdoctoral studies, were each awarded fellowships of £15,000 to spend on whatever they may need to continue their research, from buying scientific equipment to paying for childcare or travel. They were selected by a jury of eminent scientists, chaired by Professor Dame Athene Donald (DBE, FRS), Professor of Physics and Gender Equality Champion at the University of Cambridge and FWIS Laureate.
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