RCSI’s Dr Annie Curtis shortlisted for L’Oréal Women in Science award

12 Apr 2017

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Among the 11 shortlisted finalists for this year’s L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science fellowship was the RCSI’s Dr Annie Curtis.

For 10 years, the L’Oréal-UNESCO UK & Ireland Fellowships For Women in Science initiative has been awarding fellowship positions to some of the British Isles’ outstanding postdoctoral researchers.

With five fellowships awarded in total, each of the successful candidates is awarded £15,000 – or, in Ireland’s case, the equivalent in euro – to support 12 months of research in any area of life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics and engineering.

According to the organisers, the fellowships are designed to provide practical help for the winners to undertake research in their chosen fields.

For example, the chosen winners may choose to spend their fellowship on scientific equipment or paying for other costs that would allow them to continue their research unabated.

Now, this year’s 11 shortlisted candidates have been announced and Dr Annie Curtis from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has made the cut.

Previous Irish successes

Recruited to RCSI as part of its StAR programme, Curtis’s research focuses on the body’s immune system.

More specifically, she is looking into the working of our ‘body clock’ and how, for example, our body can experience greater cold and flu symptoms in the morning as opposed to the evening.

As documented by Science Foundation Ireland, Curtis’s work has also changed our understanding of chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and neurodegeneration.

This work has shown how medications such as vaccinations can be provided at the right time of day to align with the daily changes in our immune system.

In 2015, Irish cancer biology researcher Dr Tríona Ní Chonghaile was named as one of the five Women in Science fellowship winners for her work developing a novel HDAC6 inhibitor that can kill chemo-resistant breast cancers.

The five winners for this year’s fellowships will be announced at a ceremony on 4 May.

The other nine finalists are as follows:

  • Dr Eleanor Raffan, University of Cambridge (genetics)
  • Dr Sarah Fiddyment, University of York (biochemistry)
  • Dr Priya Subramanian, University of Leeds (mathematics)
  • Dr Bethan Psaila, University of Oxford (haematology)
  • Dr Emma Chapman, Imperial College London (astrophysics)
  • Dr Manju Kurian, UCL Great Ormond Street (neurology)
  • Dr Alyssa-Jennifer Avestro, Durham University (organic chemistry)
  • Dr Sarah Rasmussen, University of Cambridge (mathematics)
  • Dr Radha Boya, University of Manchester (nanoscience)

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic