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Dr Agnieszka Gajewicz from the UG’s Faculty of Chemistry distinguished in the “L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science” programme
Dr Agnieszka Gajewicz from the University of Gdańsk’s Faculty of Chemistry has received a habilitation scholarship as part of the “L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science” programme for the development of chemoinformatic methods for assisting the assessment of chemical risk posed by new chemical substances, as well as those already present in the environment. A total of six women researchers were distinguished for diverse research projects in broadly defined life sciences including psychology, medicine, biology or chemistry.
During the 17th “L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science” programme, implemented in conjunction with UNESCO, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Polish Academy of Sciences, awards were given to women who conduct research in broadly defined life sciences including psychology, medicine, biology or chemistry. Apart from receiving their scholarships, the researchers will also be taking part in international conferences and symposia where they will promote their scientific achievements not only among other scientists but also among the general public, in order to serve society as a whole.
“As every year, the Jury was faced with the difficult task of selecting new scholarship winners from among so many high-profile candidatures. The diverse projects which we decided to distinguish are all linked by their exceptionally high substantive level and potential for practical application. Each of the female researchers can, with regard to their own level of education, boast not only superb academic achievement but also ambitious plans for further development. For this reason I am convinced that we will on many occasions be able to witness further successes”, said Prof. Dr hab. Ewa Łojkowska, Chair of the Jury of the “L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science” programme.
As part of the 17th programme, three habilitation scholarships, each to the amount of 35,000 PLN, were awarded to:
- Dr Agnieszka Gajewicz, Laboratory of Environmental Chemometrics, Department of Environmental Chemistry and Radiochemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Gdańsk (Devising Read-across Methods to Assist the Process of Assessment of the Chemical Risk Posed by Nanomaterials);
- Dr Marta Mańczuk, MD, Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention, Laboratory of Primary Prevention, Maria Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology, Warsaw (Modern-age Diseases: Assessment of Lifestyle-related Risk Factors);
- Dr Anna Michalska, Department of Chemistry and Biodynamics of Food, Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Olsztyn (Identification of the Key Parameters of Selected Drying Methods Affecting the Thermolability and Interactions between Bioactive Compounds in Fruit Powders).
Two scholarships for doctoral students, to the amount of 30,000 PLN, were awarded to:
- mgr Monika Riegel, Neurobiology Centre, Laboratory of Brain Imaging, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology PAS (Brain Mechanisms of the Associative Memory of Emotionally-marked Verbal Stimuli: Behavioral Studies and Studies involving Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI));
- mgr Wioletta Rut, Department of Bioorganic Chemistry, Wrocław University of Science and Technology (Applying Natural and Non-natural Amino Acids to Obtain Active and Specific Markers for Cysteine and Threonine Proteases).
A scholarship for an MA student, to the value of 20,000 PLN, was awarded to:
- mgr Anna Konturek, Department of Medical Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University (Influence of Heme Oxygenase-1 and G-quadruplexes on the Genome Stability in the Pathogenesis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)).
Dr Agnieszka Gajewicz has been linked to the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Gdańsk since the beginning of her academic career, first as a student (1999-2004), then as a doctoral student (2008-2013), a scientific and technical employee (2011-2013), an assistant (2013-2014), and currently a reader (since 2014). The objective of Dr Gajewicz’s research project is the development of chemoinformatic methods for assisting the assessment of chemical risk posed by both new chemical substances and already present in the environment (with particular focus on nanomaterials). This is particularly significant in relation to the recently observed steady increase in the number of chemical compounds which may pose a serious threat to human health. The methods devised also find application in the process of computer-assisted development of new chemical compounds, safe to human health and the natural environment, thus allowing for the selection of the most promising candidates from the virtual library of millions of combinatorially-generated compounds.
“We acknowledge the enormous role of science in improving the quality of our lives. At the same time, given the still too low, 30% representation of female researchers, we draw attention to the need for providing support to their ingenious projects. In addition, starting from this year, we offer our scholarship winners access to the online platform “Academy For Women in Science”. It is a place where experience can be exchanged and knowledge of soft competences expanded, maybe not directly linked to the subject of scientific research but nevertheless important in managing a research team or promoting one’s own work. I am delighted to announce this new element to our programme today when we meet together, as a group of scholarship winners, partners and friends of Women in Science”, stated Wioletta Rosołowska, President of the Management Board of L'Oréal Poland and Baltic States, during the gala ceremony.
The award gala of “L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science” was held on 18 October 2017 at the Bank of Poland Redoubt in Warsaw, bringing together outstanding figures in the world of science, politics and business.
The “L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science” programme has been in operation since the year 2000. Eighty-seven women have been distinguished in its 17 years of operation. This year’s winners have therefore joined a group of over 2,700 women in 115 countries across the world who have been awarded in the “L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science” programme. The aim of the programme is to provide financial assistance and promote scientific achievements by talented female researchers, thus encouraging them to continue their work for the development of science.