Apply now for the MJ Gething Gender Equity Award

Plus hear from the latest recipient Dr Lou Fourriere-Chea who held a research seminar in Paris recently thanks to the grant she received.

The MJ Gething Equity Award is open throughout the year with applications closing on 30 November.

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The award’s donor Professor Emeritus Mary-Jane H. Gething AO is a passionate supporter of and advocate for young female researchers working in the biomedical sciences. The aim of the grant is to support early career researchers with significant caring responsibilities to maintain research momentum or build their research profile.

And for the latest recipient Dr Lou Fourriere-Chea, Research Fellow in the Gleeson Laboratory, Dept of Biochemistry & Pharmacology, it did just that.

For Lou, as a primary carer of two young children, starting new research collaborations and attending all-important international conferences means time away from her children which isn’t always possible due to her caring responsibilities.

With thanks to the MJ Gething Gender Equity Award, Lou was able to travel to Paris recently and give a seminar at the Institute Curie and to attend a Cell Biology conference there - and her two young children came along too. This networking opportunity was a crucial step for Lou in regaining research momentum after the birth of her second child during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was fantastic to feel that I was back on track, having amazing discussions, starting new collaborations while not being away from my kids.

Image: Lou with her two children eating cannelés in Bordeaux, waiting for a bus to reach the Conference location.

Academic conferences in particular are now working to provide more welcoming environments for families.

“It’s so important for conferences to be able to accommodate families, so researchers can participate even when they have young children,” said Lou.

Lou's research focuses on the intracellular trafficking of the ß-secretase (BACE1) and amyloid precursor protein (APP) - two proteins involved in the production of amyloid ß (Aß) which is thought to play a crucial role in the development of the Alzheimer’s disease.

"Our research group has recently described the secretory network in human neurons derived from iPSC, a type of stem cell. This knowledge is the keystone to further compare APP and BACE1 trafficking in human neurons from control and Alzheimer’s patient iPSC cells," said Lou.

Image: Lou [second from left] with Gleeson Research Group members

The MJ Gething Equity Award was launched in 2019  thanks to Professor Emeritus Mary-Jane H. Gething AO, the first female Head of Biochemistry at the University of Melbourne. Together with her late husband, Professor Joseph Sambrook, they created the Gething-Sambrook Family Trust which enabled the creation of this award.

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