Nature Research Awards
In partnertship with the Estee Lauder Companies

The 2018 longlist – see the full line-up

inspiring science award

Cara Barrersby
Cara Battersby
(University of Connecticut, USA)

Cara Battersby received her PhD in astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, held National Science Foundation (NSF) and Submillimeter Array (SMA) postdoctoral fellowships at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and is now an assistant professor of physics at the University of Connecticut, USA. She spends a lot of her time studying how stars are born in our Galaxy’s centre, developing a new mission with NASA, and working with teachers and researchers to develop lesson plans that bring modern science into the classroom. Cara believes equal access to education is the recipe for a better world.

Ilana Brito
Ilana Brito
(Cornell University, USA)

Ilana Brito is an assistant professor in biomedical engineering at Cornell University, USA. Her lab pioneers systems-level methods to analyse the human microbiome, with particular focus on horizontal gene transfer and its consequences on the spread of antibiotic resistance. As a mentor, Ilana aims to spark passion in STEM through creative approaches, including sponsoring educational exchanges between undergraduates and trainees from low-income and middle-income countries, and organising a series of genomics-oriented hackathons. She has served as a scientific ambassador at the World Economic Forum, a career explorations advisor for 4-H, and has presented for live, radio and television audiences.

María Natalia Lisa
María Natalia Lisa
(CONICET - Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina)

What can coherence across borders and boundaries offer to the evolution of life? María Natalia Lisa’s research focuses on the mechanisms underlying information flow across molecular interfaces in bacteria. She is currently investigating a signalling pathway employed by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis, to monitor nutrient availability in infected cells and evade the immune system to adapt and survive. This research will teach us about the organisation of complex life forms and help to fight tuberculosis and elude bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Maria is a structural biologist, motivated to understand how we are and how we interact with other life forms.

Shruti Naik
Shruti Naik
(New York University, USA)

Shruti Naik is an assistant professor at the New York University, USA. She studies how environmental stimuli collaborate with genetic factors to control immunity in the skin. Shruti obtained her PhD in immunology from the University of Pennsylvania. She was a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rockefeller University. She is a strong advocate for increasing diversity in science and promoting the advancement of under-represented groups. For her research and advocacy, Shruti has been awarded the NIH Women’s Scholars Award, the Regeneron Award, the L’Oréal Award, the Dale F. Frey Award, the Sartorius and Science Prize and Tri-Institution Breakout Prize.

Mirjana Pović
Mirjana Pović
(Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, Ethiopia, and Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC), Spain)

Mirjana Pović is an assistant professor at the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, Ethiopia, and associated researcher at the Spanish IAA-CSIC. Mirjana obtained her PhD degree in 2010 at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain, and her main field of research is galaxy formation and evolution, focused on nuclear activity in galaxies. She participated in more than 10 international projects (being co-principal investigator and principal investigator of two) and has around 80 publications. She works on the development of science and education in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana, through joint research collaborations, student supervisions, trainings, lecturing, regulation development and outreach.

Ritu Raman
Ritu Raman
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)

Ritu Raman is an engineer, writer and educator with a passion for introducing biohybrid materials into the toolbox of every inventor. She grew up in India, Kenya and the United States, and has learned to appreciate and thrive in diverse and dynamic environments. Ritu is passionate about democratizing and diversifying STEM education around the world because she believes technical innovation drives positive social change. Ritu is an alumna of Cornell University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the renowned Langer Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.

Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez
Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez
(University of California, Davis, USA)

Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez joined the Department of Neurology, Physiology and Behavior at the University of California, Davis, USA in 2015. Prior to arriving at Davis, she was an assistant professor of biology at Barnard College, Columbia University. In addition to a prolific early publishing record and high level of research funding, Rebecca is a popular teacher with high student evaluation marks. Some recent highlights include the development of an intensive week-long workshop for at-risk African-American and Latin youth pursuing science careers. She is an active member of faculty at the UC Davis Center for Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science (CAMPOS).

Corinna Stefanie Schindler
Corinna Stefanie Schindler
(University of Michigan, USA)

Corinna S. Schindler grew up in Schwaebisch Hall, Germany, and completed her undergraduate studies focused on catalysis and chemical engineering at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. After graduate studies at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, in synthetic organic chemistry, and postdoctoral studies at Harvard University, USA, in reaction development and physical organic chemistry, Corinna joined the chemistry department at the University of Michigan, USA, as an assistant professor in 2013. Her independent research program is centred on the development of new transformations between carbonyl and olefin functional groups, specifically carbonyl-olefin metathesis reactions, relying on environmentally benign and earth-abundant metal catalysts.

Kelsey A. Stoerzinger
Kelsey A. Stoerzinger
(Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA)

Kelsey A. Stoerzinger is a Linus Pauling Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Materials Sciences group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), USA. Kelsey completed her doctoral studies in materials science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, in June 2016, supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She received an MPhil in physics from the University of Cambridge, USA, as a Churchill Scholar and a bachelor of science in materials science and engineering from Northwestern University, USA. She will start as an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Oregon State University in September of 2018, maintaining a joint appointment at PNNL.

Dawn Tan
Dawn Tan
(Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore)

Dawn Tan is an assistant professor at the Singapore University of Technology and Design where she leads the Photonics Devices and Systems Group. Dawn received her doctorate in electrical engineering at the University of California San Diego, USA, where she was a Powell Fellow. She was previously a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and part of the design team at Californian startup, Luxtera Inc. Dawn has been featured in the Straits Times, US News, the National Science Foundation and various media outlets. She serves on the committee of the SCS Women in Technology Interest Group and in 2018 she co-organised the inaugural Women in Technology and Design Conference. She was awarded the L'Oréal for Women in Science National Fellowship, named an Innovator under 35 by MIT Technology Review and was featured as a rising scientist in Asian Scientist Magazine.

innovating science award

Marja Seidel
Cielo y Tierra
(nominee: Marja Seidel)

Marja Seidel is a professional astrophysicist and dedicated science communicator. At her young age of 29, she has contributed important research results in the field of extragalactic astrophysics while running numerous science outreach endeavours worldwide. She co-founded the initiative ‘Cielo y Tierra’ in 2015 with the aim to empower girls through science inquiry activities, focusing on rural areas. In May 2018, she has started a staff position as an outreach and education scientist in the NASA IPAC Center at the California Institute of Technology, USA. She values international and cross-disciplinary collaboration and exchange and has lived in several countries, developing competency in five foreign languages.

Morgan DiCarlo
Civil Engineering Outreach
(nominee: Morgan DiCarlo)

Morgan DiCarlo has a passion for water resources and for engaging more women in STEM. In 2013, she founded a Civil Engineering Outreach Program on Long Island, New York, USA, which has graduated more than 100 girls to date. The curriculum was recognized by Clinton Global University as a STEM initiative. Morgan’s scientific work was honoured by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Disney Imagineering Innovation contest. She is a TEDx speaker, former NASA climate researcher and a recipient of a ‘National Science Foundation: Graduate Research Fellowship’, which supports her PhD studies in civil engineering at North Carolina State University.

Madison Smither
From Student to Scientist and the Emmy Noether Award and Scholars Program
(nominee: Madison Smither)

Madison Smither is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Virginia. As a Jefferson Scholar, she conducts cancer research using bioinformatics and RNA sequencing at both the University of Virginia, USA, and through Tulane University, USA, and she works at the biotech companies Cavion, Inc. and AMPEL BioSolutions in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. To empower other girls to pursue science, she started two initiatives: From Student to Scientist provides science opportunities to students outside of the classroom; and the Emmy Noether Award and Scholars Program offers a $75,000 fellowship for a young female scientist to conduct graduate-level research and a mentorship program giving girls the ability to conduct laboratory research.

Anvita Gupta
LITAS For Girls
(nominee: Anvita Gupta)

Anvita Gupta is a master student studying Computer Science at Stanford University, and the founder of LITAS for Girls, a 501(c)(3) organisation guiding girls in computer sciences and STEM. Her research in artificial intelligence and medicine has won international accolades (Siemens competition, Science Talent Search, International BioGENEius Challenge) and has been published in peer-reviewed journals. Anvita has presented her work on computational drug discovery to President Obama at the White House in 2015, and was invited to join the president’s precision medicine initiative. Anvita is president of Stanford Women in computer sciences and has spoken at the White House Ebola Innovators summit, TEDx, BIO International Conference, among others.

Aliyah Weinstein
Letters to a Pre-Scientist
(nominee: Aliyah Weinstein)

The mission of Letters to a Pre-Scientist is to demystify science careers by creating personal connections between students and real scientists. The year-long program is a cross-curricular experience where middle school student (‘pre-scientists’) in the United States build relationships with real scientists through eight letters to expand their knowledge of higher education and STEM careers, improve their literacy skills, and foster their curiosity. Letters to a Pre-Scientist believes all students deserve the tools to succeed in their science education. They work with schools serving at least 60% of students from low-income families and aspire towards the day when all students can envision themselves as future scientists.

Mambepa Nakazwe
Seeds of Change Foundation Zambia
(nominee: Mambepa Nakazwe)

Mambepa Nakazwe is the co-founder of Seeds of Change Foundation Zambia: a youth-led, non-profit organisation that aims to build the next generation of ethical African leaders. Through their education program, Seed of Change Foundation Zambia runs an initiative called ‘girls with different abilities in information and communications technologies (ICTs)’ — an initiative that advocates for girls with special needs to take up interest in information communication technology careers and empowers them with entrepreneurship skills for free. Mambepa has experience in leading youths in various capacities. Currently she is a Youth Technical Assistant with Restless Development Uganda and she is an alumni of the Young African Leaders Initiative Regional leadership Centre (YALI RLC SA).

Yasmin Kroll
Techbridge Girls
(nominee: Yasmin Kroll)

Techbridge Girls champions equality in STEM education and fair access to economic opportunities for all girls. Today, too many girls are locked out of STEM and have to work twice as hard to get half as far. Overwhelming odds are stacked against them: they live in low-income communities, go to high-poverty schools and experience bias. The mission of Techbridge Girls is to level the playing field and empower girls from low-income communities to achieve upward mobility and financial stability. To achieve this, they design high-quality STEM programs and learning experiences and they train educators to deliver their unique programs to marginalized girls.

Yvonne Commodore-Mensah
The African Research Academies for Women (nominee:
Yvonne Commodore-Mensah)

The African Research Academies for Women (ARA-W) is a non-profit organisation that seeks to tackle the gender disparities in science by training young African women who are passionate about STEM to use their talents in addressing problems plaguing the African continent. ARA-W provides fully-funded research opportunities for young women to complete a Summer Undergraduate Research Program at African universities and reputable research institutions. Since 2014, ARA-W has trained 44 undergraduate women in a variety of STEM fields. ARA-W seeks to transform Africa by addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 5: Quality Education and Gender Equality, respectively.

Fanni Szigeti
The Association of Hungarian Women in Science
(nominee: Fanni Szigeti)

The Association of Hungarian Women in Science (NaTE) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation that aims to promote STEM and computer sciences among girls who are under-represented in these fields of education. NaTE was established in 2008 by female scientists. Since then, NaTE has grown into a country-wide network of scientists — both men and women — working in STEM or social sciences, who are committed to the gender balance in academia, technology, innovation and research and development. NaTE has founded projects such as the ’Excellence Award for Women in Science’, ’Scindicator – A science communication competition’, ’Smart future for Girls’ and ‘Girls’ Day’.

Rethabile Sonibare
Thope Foundation
(nominee: Rethabile Sonibare)

Thope Foundation (Thope means ‘girl’ in Sesotho) is an non-profit organisation aimed at empowering young girls in STEM. Since 2013, when the organisation was established, it has grown to accommodate the needs of the girls and the community where the Foundation operates. The Foundation offers computer skills, robotics, coding, maths and science tutoring, and mentoring to primary school girls at Chumisa Primary in Khayelitsha, South Africa. More recently, the Foundation started Molo Mhlaba School for girls: an independent, low-fee school with a Pan-African iSTE(A)M focus (innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) from Grade R.