Elsevier at #AAASmtg: live updates with award-winning women in science

5 researchers from developing countries are preparing to accept the 2019 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for their work in the biological sciences

Uduak Okomo, PhD, is one of five winners of the 2019 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World. She is a Clinical Research Fellow for the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Washington, DC — Their work is inspired by what they have witnessed and experienced in their countries. Through the disciplines of environmental microbiology, ethnobotany, clinical pediatrics and epidemiology, these researchers have found ingenious ways to improve the lives and livelihoods of people in their communities and beyond.

They are early-career researchers from Bangladesh, Bolivia, the Gambia, Nepal and Palestine, and they’re being recognized for their outstanding work in the biological sciences.

On Saturday, they will receive OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting.

Each winner will be called to the stage to explain her research and the inspiration behind it. Now, they are rehearsing their presentations with coaching from their colleagues in the Elsevier Foundation and the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD).

“These scientists are performing groundbreaking international-level science, often in circumstances where the deck has been stacked against them,“ said OWSD President Prof. Jennifer Thomson. “They deserve to be honored and celebrated for their dedication not only to their research but to creating a better world for people to live in.”

Elsevier Foundation Director Ylann Schemm said:

It's inspiring to see how much of their research focuses on crucial challenges addressed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals: creating sustainable bioplastics in Bangladesh; preserving traditional plant knowledge in Bolivia; reducing disease transmission to newborns in Africa; removing arsenic from water in Nepal; and investigating the healthcare system's response to gender violence in Palestine.

Learn more about the winners.


Live broadcasting and updates

We will be posting updates here through Saturday, February 16. In addition, you can follow us on social media:


The winners

16 February 2019

The winners pose wtih their awards after the ceremony (from left): Narel Paniagua-Zambrana, PhD (Bolivia); Uduak Okomo, PhD (The Gambia); Tabassum Mumtaz, PhD (Bangladesh); Amira Shaheen, PhD (Palestine); and Tista Prasal Joshi, PhD (Nepal). (Photo by Alison Bert)


The lesson she learned at 7 would change the course of her life

15 February 2019


The President of Bolivia congratulates Narel Paniagua-Zambrana on Twitter

15 February 2019


Learning about science policy from the experts

14 February 2019

On Thursday afternoon, we were hosted by colleagues at the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), just a few blocks from the White House (you can see it out the window on the left). STPI provides rigorous and objective analysis for the formulation of national science and technology policy in the United States, supporting the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Science Foundation, the National Science Board, and other agencies in the federal government.

Dr. Mark Lewis, Director of the Science and Technology Policy Institute, talks about how national science policy is developed. (Photo by Alison Bert)

Dr. Amira Shaheen, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at An-Najah National University in Palestine, and Dr. Tabassum Mumtaz, Chief Scientific Officer of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), take part in the STPI roundtable. (Photo by Alison Bert)


Only in America!

14 February 2019

Our award-winning pediatrician sings “Amazing Grace” in front of the White House. Dr. Uduak Okomo asked Melody Crombie — an evangelist who ran for president in 2016 and is thinking of running again — if she could borrow her mic to sing.

Meeting Einstein

14 February 2019

Our winners cozy up to Albert Einstein in this famous memorial outside the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (Don't worry, it's one of the few statues you can climb on in the nation's capital.) Thanks to our NAS colleagues Tom Rudin and Maria Dahlberg for showing us this treasure. (Check out Maria's nifty video below!)

tbd


At the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

14 February 2019

Today, our winners were guests of honor at a luncheon at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Our hosts were Tom Rudin, Director of the Board on Higher Education and Workforce, and his colleague Dr. Ashley Bear, Senior Program Officer. The candid conversation with NASEM staff and fellows ran the gamut from how to get funding for your research to following your dream when people around you have a different plan for your life.

Afterwards, we were treated to a tour of these hallowed halls, and we took pictures with the famous Einstein statue outside. (More on that later!)


Yes, we have passports

14 February 2019

For our visit to the Science and Technology Policy Institute, our guests were asked to show their passports to Security. Dr. Narel Paniagua-Zambrano of Bolivia snapped this clever picture. More on that fascinating visit later.


We visit the US Capitol

13 February 2019


Meet the winners

Narel Paniagua-Zambrana, PhD – Ethnobotany (Bolivia)

Dr. Narel Paniagua-Zambrana, Associated Researcher in Ethnobotany at the Herbario Nacional de Bolivia, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Mayor de San Andres, says:

Dr. Narel Paniagua-Zambrana is an Associated Researcher in Ethnobotany at the Herbario Nacional de Bolivia, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Mayor de San Andres in Bolivia. She is being honored for her work documenting and protecting traditional knowledge of plant use by indigenous populations and local communities, especially in Bolivia. Her work provides local populations with tools to conserve their natural resources and associated traditional knowledge.

“Receiving this award makes it possible to highlight the value and importance of making efforts to conserve and protect the traditional knowledge held by the indigenous populations,” said Dr. Paniagua-Zambrana. “Local scientific work is not easy, much less in developed countries. This award will allow me to expand my collaboration to make this task easier and more widely shared.”

Amira Shaheen, PhD – Epidemiology (Palestine)

Amira Shaheen, PhD, says

Dr. Amira Shaheen, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at An-Najah National University in Palestine, is being honored for her work on improving the healthcare system's response to gender-based violence.  Her research investigates the readiness of healthcare systems in Palestine to identify and refer female victims of violence, with the goal of improving identification and referral and bettering the women’s situations.

“As an epidemiologist, winning the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award is further evidence of the importance of putting results into practice in the field of public health,” she said. “It gives me the courage to further research culturally sensitive issues, and it will motivate young health graduates to enter the field of public health.”

Tabassum Mumtaz, PhD – Environmental Microbiology (Bangladesh)

Tabassum Mumtaz, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer for the Bangladesh Adomic Energy Commission, says:

Dr. Tabassum Mumtaz, Principal Scientific Officer of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), is being honored for her work on bioconversion of waste byproducts and biomass into more environmentally-friendly compounds. Dr. Mumtaz cultivates bacteria that can turn wastewater and food waste, such as effluents from palm oil production, into sustainable bioplastics.

“Winning this award is like receiving an Oscar to me,” she said. “This will be a tremendous inspiration to me and to all women scientists in Bangladesh and in the Asia-Pacific region — to dream big and to do research beneficial to the environment and society.”

Tista Prasai Joshi, PhD – Environmental Microbiology (Nepal)

Tista Prasai Joshi, PhD, a researcher in the Environmental Laboratory of the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology,says:

Dr. Tista Prasai Joshi, a researcher in the Environment Research Laboratory of the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, is being honored for her research in developing novel metal oxide adsorbents to remove harmful organic and inorganic arsenic compounds efficiently from water. Her work to create more economic and environment friendly techniques for water treatment has had a significant impact on public awareness and accountability of drinking water suppliers in Kathmandu.

“Receiving this prestigious award has great value in my scientific career,” she said. “Because of this international recognition, I am more confident, accountable and motivated to continue my research activities to achieve my goal. It will inspire many younger ladies in this region to achieve more in the advancement of sciences.”

Uduak Okomo, PhD – Pediatrics and Epidemiology (The Gambia)

Uduak Okomo, PhD, a Clinical Research Fellow for the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says:

Dr. Uduak Okomo is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is being honored for her work in defining routes of transmission of infections to neonates. Dr. Okomo’s research has pointed to hospital-acquired transmission rather than maternal or community acquisition, which contributes to improved control of infections and better planning of health systems and resource distribution, thereby reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality.

Dr. Uduak Okomo presents her research to Prince Charles when he visited her institution in The Gambia.

“Receiving the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award is an encouragement to continue my work to improve maternal and newborn survival in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Dr. Okomo. “I hope this award inspires African women scientists in global health to become scientific leaders in their spheres of influence and gives them the courage and confidence to tackle Africa’s challenges in global health and development.”

To attend the award ceremony at AAAS

Award ceremony at the AAASThe winners will receive their awards on Saturday, February 16, in a ceremony at the Minority and Women Scientists & Engineers Networking Breakfast. If you are interested in attending, contact Domiziana Francescon.

Quick question for you

Which terms do you most associate with Elsevier? (check all that apply)

Data and analytics
Research platforms
Technology
Decision support tools
Publishing
Books and journals
Scientific articles
Healthcare content

Tags


Contributors


Related stories


Comments


comments powered by Disqus