2023 Rising Talent Shortlist

L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science UK and Ireland Rising Talents Awards: Meet the 2023 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. These fully flexible Fellowships are each worth £15,000 and are tenable at any UK or Irish university or research institute to support a 12-month period of research.

Meet the 2023 Shortlist

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

The following twelve 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 24th April 2023 at a reception at the House of Commons and on the For Women in Science website and the UNESCO UK and L’Oréal UK & Ireland Twitter channels

Please meet this year’s shortlist:


Dr Livia Cupertino Malheiros (Imperial College London)

Dr Livia Cupertino Malheiros is a postdoctoral researcher with a PhD in Materials Engineering, who for the past nine years, has been carrying out research in the fields of hydrogen embrittlement, structural and mechanical characterisation of metallic alloys in the UK, France and Brazil. She is currently a postdoctoral research associate at Imperial College London’s department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.

Dr Amparo Güemes (University of Cambridge)

Dr Amparo Güemes González is a postdoctoral 1851 Research Fellow at the Bioelectronic Lab at the University of Cambridge. She received her PhD in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College London for her work on mathematical models of the neural regulation of glucose homeostasis. Amparo’s current interdisciplinary research combines advanced signal processing, bioelectronics and electrophysiology to develop advanced algorithms and neurotechnology to be integrated into a closed-loop platform aiming to improve glucose control for type 1 diabetes.

Dr Joanna Sadowska (Royal College of Surgeons, University of Medicine and Health Sciences)

Dr Joanna Sadowska is a Research Fellow at the Royal College of Surgeons University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Her research focuses on developing cell and gene therapies for the regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues and the treatment of bone diseases.

Life Sciences

Dr Khushboo Borah Slater (University of Surrey)

Dr Khushboo Borah Slater is a scientist working in infectious diseases at the University of Surrey with the goal to innovate fluxomic technologies for studying human metabolism in health and disease that could lead to the development of new host-directed therapeutics. She has a background in engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, India, and a PhD in Plant Sciences from the University of Oxford. She is highly driven by her passion for technology and innovation and believes that we need creative thinking to find solutions for pressing global challenges.

Dr Virginia Howick (University of Glasgow)

Dr Virginia Howick studies the evolution and molecular mechanisms of malaria parasite transmission through the mosquito vector. She is originally from Madison, WI USA and completed her PhD in Entomology at Cornell University in 2015. She then moved to Cambridge UK for a postdoctorate at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. In 2020, she began her current role as a Sir Henry Dale Fellow at the University of Glasgow.

Mathematics and Computer Science

Dr Jane Ivy Coons (University of Oxford)

Dr Jane Ivy Coons’ research is in the field of algebraic statistics wherein she uses tools from algebra and combinatorics to explain the geometry of statistical models. She received her PhD from North Carolina State University in 2021 and is currently an early career fellow at St John’s College, Oxford, and an affiliate researcher at the University of Oxford’s Mathematical Institute.

Dr Tanya Shreedhar (University of Edinburgh)

Dr. Tanya Shreedhar is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests lie broadly in the area of networks and systems. Dr. Shreedhar received her Ph.D. from Indian Institutes of Information Technology, Delhi, India. She received her bachelor’s degree in engineering with a gold medal from Panjab University, India. She is active in student and women mentorship programs in several technical venues and has been awarded research fellowship grants from TCS, NSF, ACM SIGCOMM, and IEEE INFOCOM during her Ph.D.

Physical Sciences

Dr Kara Lynch (University of Manchester)

Dr Kara Lynch is a nuclear physicist researching laser spectroscopy and decay spectroscopy to understand the nuclear structure of exotic nuclei. Obtaining her Ph.D. with the University of Manchester as a CERN Doctoral student, she conducted research at the CERN-ISOLDE facility as a Marie Curie Pegasus Fellow and a CERN Research Fellow. After an academic career break as a part-qualified UK patent attorney, Kara returned to nuclear physics research as a post-doctoral research associate with the University of Manchester.

Dr Jessica Cross (University of Bristol)

Dr Jessica Cross completed an MSci in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge followed by a PhD in Chemical Synthesis at the University of Bristol. She is now an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow in the School of Biochemistry at Bristol. Her research involves designing novel peptides to manipulate motor proteins as they move around inside living cells.

Dr Minoo Kabirnezhad (Imperial College London)

Dr Monireh Kabirnezhad is an 1851 research fellow at Imperial College London. She was a postdoctoral research assistant at Oxford University and is now searching for neutrinos which are known as ghost particles. She builds models to describe the interactions of neutrinos with matter (nuclei inside detectors) to detect invisible neutrinos indirectly.

Sustainable Development

Dr Julia Woitischek (Imperial College London)

Dr Julia Woitischek did her PhD at the University of Cambridge after finishing her bachelor and master studies in Austria. During her PhD, she studied the degassing behaviour of active volcanoes. She is currently a research associate at Imperial College London, exploring metal transport/mobilization in sandstones.

Dr Sophie Nixon (University of Manchester)

Dr Sophie Nixon is a BBSRC David Phillips Research Fellow in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on understanding life in the deep subsurface, and microbial carbon cycle at community scales, with a focus on harnessing microbial community metabolism to solve environmental problems including plastic pollution and the CO2 emissions crisis. She conducted her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in Astrobiology and holds an MSci in Geographical Sciences from the University of Bristol. Sophie aims to take the first major steps in harnessing the CO2-fixing capabilities of geothermal communities to develop new routes to convert waste CO2 emissions into value-added chemicals, and thereby help achieve urgent and ambitious Net Zero emissions targets.