L’Oréal and Unesco celebrate female scientific excellence in the UK & Ireland with the 2024 For Women in Science awards

18.03.2024 - Commitment

London, Monday 18th March 2024 – The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science programme has today announced the recipients of the 2024 Rising Talent Awards which recognise exceptional early careers women scientists in the UK and Ireland.
L’Oréal has supported women in STEM for over 25 years through the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science partnership, which offers Fellowships to encourage the contribution of women pursuing their STEM research careers.Five fully flexible grants were awarded to outstanding women postdoctoral scientists in the fields of Physical Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Computing, Life Science, and Sustainable Development, and can be used at any UK or Irish university or research institute to support a 12 month period of research.


Dr Sara Keller, University of Oxford – Rising Talent Winner

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.

Dr Liyun Ma, Imperial College London – Highly Commended

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.

Life Sciences

Dr Océane Seudre, Queen Mary University of London – Rising Talent Winner

Dr Océane Seudre is a postdoctoral research fellow at Queen Mary University of London, and 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 biology from Queen Mary University of London.

Dr Angelika Zarkali, University College London – Highly Commended

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 to develop 

new treatment approaches for Lewy body dementia. She has a PhD in Neuroscience from University College London.

Dr Mie Wong, University College London – Highly Commended

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 & Computing

Dr Giulia Laura Celora, University College London – Rising Talent Winner

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.

Dr Ellen Luckins, University of Warwick – Highly Commended

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.

Physical Sciences

Dr. Ann Njeri, Newcastle University – Rising Talent Winner

Dr Ann Njeri is a postdoctoral research associate in Extragalactic Astrophysics at Newcastle University. Dr Njeri’s 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) – Highly Commended

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 to work with Dr Charlie McTernan). Her research entails the development of Supramolecular hosts, which are capable of bio-inspired recognition and communication, i.e., the creation of artificial systems which can perform complex tasks akin to those observed in biological systems, for applications such as targeted drug delivery. Aisha received her PhD in Chemistry from Durham University under the tutelage of Assistant Professor Paul McGonigal 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 Reem Swidah, University of Manchester - Rising Talent Winner

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 (UoM).

(Dr Naomi Farren, University of York – unwell and unable to attend – Highly Commended

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.)

Thierry Cheval, L'Oréal UK and Ireland, Managing Director said: “As a company founded by a scientist over 100 years ago, L’Oréal, together with UNESCO, is committed to driving gender equality in STEM and recognising the exceptional work of female scientists who are vitally contributing to solving the challenges of tomorrow.

Congratulations to this year’s Fellows who are a true inspiration for generations to come.”

Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP and Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee & sponsor the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science programme commented: “Congratulations to this year's L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland For Women in Science Rising Talent fellows. Giving a platform and visibility to women scientists is everyone's responsibility, Government, civil society, and business, because if you cannot see it, you cannot be it. Neither the UK, nor the world, can successfully respond to the pressing environmental and societal challenges without unleashing the knowledge and capability of women scientists.”

Professor Anne Anderson, Chair of the UK National Commission for UNESCO's Board of Directors

'Congratulations to the 2024 Rising Talents. As we stand at a pivotal moment in time for scientific advancement, UNESCO continues to highlight the importance of true gender equality in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and the vital role women play in a more equitable scientific society.'

The United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO is proud to support these young women in STEM from the UK & Ireland and celebrate their achievements as researchers paving the way for a brighter global future.


The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science global partnership has been established for 26 years; supporting over 250 talented women researchers from 110 countries annually.In the UK the programme is a partnership between L'Oréal UK & Ireland, the UK National Commission for UNESCO and the Irish National Commission for UNESCO, with the support of the Royal Society.