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Published on 09.07.12

CRANN Scientist Awarded Prestigious ‘Women in Science’ Fellowship

Dr. Silvia Giordani

An eminent female Investigator, at the Science Foundation Ireland funded nanoscience institute CRANN, Dr. Silvia Giordani, has been awarded the 2012 L’Oréal-UNESCO UK & Ireland for Women in Science Fellowship. The award was made at the Royal Society London, late last week.

Dr Giordani, who is undertaking postdoctoral research at CRANN, was awarded the fellowship for her project – “a new avenue towards “smart” medicines”. Three other scientists, Dr. Katrina Lythgoe, from Imperial College London, Dr. Claire Spottiswoode, from the University of Cambridge and Dr. Geetha Srinivasan, from Queen’s University Belfast were also recognised for their achievements, each receiving an award.

Selected by a jury, chaired by Professor Dame Athene Donald (DBE, FRS), Professor of Physics and Gender Equality Champion at the University of Cambridge and FWIS Laureate, winners are awarded £15,000 to spend on whatever they may need to continue their research, from buying scientific equipment to paying for childcare or travel.  

Dr Giordani’s research project is geared towards the synthesis, characterisation and application of new nanoparticles. A successful combination of biological systems and new nanomaterials will likely offer some advantages over conventional therapies in the on-going battle against serious and complex illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Dr Giordani’s work involves the functionalisation of ‘carbon nano-onions’ (concentric multilayer fullerenes). These carbon-based architectures have tremendous potential in biomedical applications thanks to their unique spherical shape, their infinitely small size and their chemical homogeneity. Each nanoparticle can essentially be viewed as a targeted delivery system, with the ultimate aim of producing a system capable of direct ‘communication’ between diagnostic, imaging and therapeutic functions located on a single biocompatible platform.

Commenting on her selection, Dr. Giordani said,"I am delighted to receive this award, which is a real celebration of the work undertaken by women in the sciences. In order to encourage greater participation by women in scientific research, teaching and communication, it is important that the right supports are in place. Programmes like this are an important element to help women in science plan their careers and realise their ambitions.

The awards are run in partnership with the UK National Commission for UNESCO, the Irish National Commission for UNESCO and the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

Now in their fourteenth year internationally and sixth year in the UK, they promote the importance of ensuring greater participation of women in science by offering awards to outstanding female postdoctoral researchers.

Listen to Dr. Giordani being interviewed about her work on Mooney Goes Wild, RTE Radio 1

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