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Stem cell researcher Aishe A. Sarshad receives the L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science Prize

Aishe A. Sarshad at the Sahlgrenska Academy, the University of Gothenburg, receives the L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science Prize in Sweden for having identified a new mechanism for regulating gene expression in stem cells

The prize is awarded by L’Oréal Sweden, The Young Academy of Sweden and the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO, to acknowledge women who have shown great potential in science and engineering. The prize aims to promote “the scientists of tomorrow” by supporting them at an important stage in their career and encouraging more women to pursue a career in research.

The glass ceiling is still a reality

According to the organizers of the award, in the field of scientific research, the glass ceiling is still a reality. In 2017, around 60 percent of the students at Swedish higher education institutions were women. But only 19 and 16 percent of the professors in the natural and engineering sciences respectively were women (source: UKÄ, p. 127, Swedish). The overall proportion of women with a professorial title in all subject areas is 28 percent.

Of the 607 Nobel laureates in medicine, physics and chemistry, 20 (just over 3 percent) have been women: twelve in medicine, three in physics and five in chemistry. Two of these have first received the international L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award: Ada E. Yonath. and Elizabeth Blackburn.

Aishe A. Sarshad

One of the two winners of the Swedish award is Aishe A. Sarshad at the Sahlgrenska Academy, the University of Gothenburg. She receives the prize “for having identified a new mechanism for regulating gene expression in stem cells. Her groundbreaking research has shown a new role for non-coding RNA in the cell nucleus. In the future, this can contribute to new methods for treating cancer and other diseases”.

“I have followed the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Prize for a long time, in the United States where I used to work, it is huge! Being a researcher has been my dream since my childhood and therefore it is a great honor that I now get recognition for my research,” says Aishe Sarshad.

The award was given to her by our new Minister for Higher Education and Research, Matilda Ernkrans.

About the Prize

The Jury of the Swedish L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science includes members of the Young Academy of Sweden as well as Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Manager L’Oréal Sverige, led by Claes Gustafsson, who is also the Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry. The prize amount is SEK 150 000 each. The awardees also receive a one-year mentor program under the auspices of The Young Academy of Sweden.

Photo of Aishe Sarshad: Emma Burendahl


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