L’Oréal Groupe UK & Ireland: L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland For Women In Science 2024

2024 Rising Talent Shortlist

For Women in Science

Women scientists are leading ground-breaking research across the world, but despite their remarkable discoveries women still only represent 1/3 of researchers globally, and their work rarely gains the recognition it deserves.

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science partnership was founded in 1998 with the simple belief that the world needs science and science needs women. Through its various editions around the world, the programme aims to help empower more women scientists to achieve scientific excellence and participate equally in solving the great challenges facing humanity.

UK and Ireland Rising Talents Awards

The post-doctoral period is a challenging time for women scientists as they work to establish themselves and forge paths towards a permanent research career. The UK and Ireland Rising Talents Programme is the national chapter of For Women in Science and is designed to provide flexible and practical financial support, alongside tools and support, for early career women scientists to pursue their research.

Five grants will be awarded to outstanding women postdoctoral scientists in the fields of Physical Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Computing, Life Science, and Sustainable Development. Each Rising Talent will receive a grant that is fully flexible and tenable at any UK or Irish university or research institute to support a 12-month period of research.

Meet the 2024 Shortlist

The standard of applications this year was exceptionally high, and we would like to thank all the candidates who applied for this year’s Rising Talents awards.

The following researchers have been identified as the strongest candidates by the Jury panel, based on their research proposals and excellent academic records, and on how the Rising Talents grant could enhance their careers.

The five Rising Talents awardees will be announced 18th March 2024 at a reception at the House of Commons. 

Please meet this year’s shortlist:



Dr Liyun Ma (Imperial College London)

Dr Liyun Ma is a UKRI Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, initially awarded as a Marie Skłodowska–Curie Fellow. Currently affiliated with Imperial College London, she is set to transition to Oxford in Spring 2024. Her current transdisciplinary research aims to develop long-patency small-diameter SmartVessels with closed-loop diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy systems. Her vision is to revolutionize textile technologies for intelligent healthcare applications. She earned her PhD in Textile Engineering from Donghua University.

Dr Sara Keller (University of Oxford)

Dr Sara Keller is a Glasstone Research Fellow in the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. Her research involves developing ultrasound molecular imaging probes for the rapid diagnosis of bacterial infections with the aim of creating new tools for image-guided interventions. Sara received her PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Life Sciences


Dr Angelika Zarkali (University College London)

Dr Angelika Zarkali is a neurologist and neuroscientist investigating the hallucinations and cognitive fluctuations in Lewy body dementia at University College London. She uses ultra - high field MRI to understand changes in the structure and function of the brain that lead to these distressing symptoms. Her ultimate goal is to develop new treatment approaches for Lewy body dementia. She has a PhD in Neuroscience from University College London.

Dr Océane Seudre (Queen Mary University of London)

Dr Océane Seudre is a postdoctoral research fellow at Queen Mary University of London. Her current interdisciplinary research aims to uncover the developmental regulatory basis of phenotypic plasticity in tropical butterflies. Her long-term goal is to integrate epigenetic mechanisms into our understanding of resilience to changing ecosystems. Océane received her PhD in evolutionary and developmental biology from Queen Mary University of London.

Dr Mie Wong (University College London)

Dr Mie Wong runs a research group at University College London. Her interdisciplinary team combines advanced microscopy and mathematical modelling to study collective cell migration and morphogenesis. Dr Wong received her PhD from the University of Cambridge.

Mathematics and Computer Science


Dr Ellen Luckins (University of Warwick)

Dr Ellen Luckins is an applied mathematician working at the intersection of industrial modelling, continuum mechanics, and applied asymptotic analysis. She completed her doctorate and subsequent postdoc position at the University of Oxford and is currently a Warwick Zeeman Lecturer at the University of Warwick Mathematics Institute.

Dr Giulia Laura Celora (University College London)

Dr Giulia Laura Celora is an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow at the Department of Mathematics at University College London. Her research is in the field of mathematical biology and aims to develop mechanistic mathematical models to understand the multiscale dynamics of cell collectives in development and cancer. Giulia received her PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Oxford in 2023.

Physical Sciences


Dr Ann Njeri (Newcastle University)

Dr Ann Njeri is a postdoctoral research associate in Extragalactic Astrophysics at Newcastle University. Her current research work involves the use of wide-field and high-resolution radio imaging to probe the nature of hidden supermassive black holes in galaxies, for a better understanding of how they influence the formation and evolution of galaxies (including our own Milky Way Galaxy) and stars through cosmic time. Dr Njeri has a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Manchester.

Dr Aisha Bismillah (University of York (applying with Kings College London and The Francis Crick Institute))

Dr Aisha N. Bismillah is a Supramolecular chemist and a Leverhulme postdoctoral research associate at the University of York (soon relocating to The Francis Crick Institute with King’s College London). Her research entails the development of Supramolecular hosts, which are capable of bio-inspired recognition and communication for applications such as targeted drug delivery. Aisha received her PhD in Chemistry from Durham University researching fluxional molecules and their 'shapeshifting' properties. Aisha also works positively to promote the role of women in STEM, in particular underrepresented groups and those with disabilities, by partaking in several extracurricular activities such as outreach and mentoring.

Sustainable Development


Dr Naomi Farren (University of York)

Dr Naomi Farren is a research fellow at the Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories at the University of York. Naomi’s research focuses on urban air pollution. She uses a range of atmospheric measurement techniques to quantify emissions of harmful pollutants from road transport. Her goal is to use these techniques to better understand emerging sources of ammonia, a highly important yet understudied atmospheric pollutant, to ultimately improve urban air quality and public health. Naomi has a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry from the University of York.

Dr Reem Swidah (University of Manchester)

Dr Reem Swidah holds a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Manchester and currently serves as a postdoctoral researcher at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, focusing on the Sc3.0 and minimal genome for the synthetic Sc2.0 strain. Reem is driven by the ambition to leverage her skills in synthetic biology to address global challenges. Her goal is to harness the exceptional evolutionary abilities of synthetic yeast strains to develop innovative and cost-effective technologies to produce biofuels. She believes that these advancements hold the potential to combat climate change and play a pivotal role in achieving the ambitious goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050, a key strategic objective of the University of Manchester.

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