Prizes & Awards

Two doctoral students honored as the L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Japan Fellowships 2010

  • School of Science Newsletter Editorial Committee

The L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Japan Fellowships were established in 2005 under the partnership between the cosmetics manufacturer Nihon L'Oréal K.K. and the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan in order to encourage young brilliant woman scientists and support their research in domestic research institutions. This prestigious annual distinction is awarded to four female researchers aged 40 or younger in the fields of material science and life science.

In 2010 Ms. Yuki Nakamura from the Department of Chemistry and Ms. Kayo Nozawa from the Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry of the Graduate School of Science received this award. It is the first time for women scientists from the Graduate School of Science to receive the award. This is a domestic version for younger women of the L'Oréal-UNESCO prize for Women in Science, which was awarded to Professor Emeritus Akiko Kobayashi in 2009 .

Congratulating Ms. Yuki Nakamura on winning the prize

  • Eiichi Nakamura (Professor, Department of Chemistry)

Ms. Yuki Nakamura, a doctoral student of the Department of Chemistry, was awarded the L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Japan Fellowships 2010 - Material Science.

Ms. Nakamura was awarded the prize for her research into the “development of a new synthesis reaction by carbon-fluorine bond activation and its application to nanoscience.” Fluorine atoms have a property to draw electrons. Therefore, these organic compounds, which contain fluorine, have been receiving attention for their possible application in medicines and organic electronics materials. Ms. Nakamura has succeeded in creating a new fluorine compound by designing a catalytic reaction based on the basic principles of chemical reaction.

Ms. Nakamura, who grew up in the U.S., graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in December, 2006 and entered into the Graduate School of Science, the University of Tokyo in April, 2007. While she devotes herself to research, she is actively engaged in promoting interest in science by contributing articles on the educational system of science in American high schools and colleges to Gendai Kagaku (Chemistry Today) magazine, aiming to stimulate the Japanese educational system in chemistry. She also acted as a host student for the “Science Café for High-School Girls” held by the Graduate School of Science and took an active role in the “International Chemistry Olympiad” held this summer. Ms. Nakamura was a recipient of the 2009 Incentive Award of the Graduate School of Science, the University of Tokyo.

Congratulations to Ms. Kayo Nozawa on winning the award

  • Osamu Nureki (Professor, Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry)

Ms. Kayo Nozawa, a doctoral student of the Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, is one of the four laureates of the L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Japan Fellowships 2010, which were awarded to young female scientists for achieving remarkable results in their research. This very prestigious award is the domestic equivalent to the L'Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science, which honors female scientists who contribute to the global development of science, such as Ms. Tsuneko Okazaki, who is renowned for research on the “Okazaki fragment” and the discontinuous replication of DNA, and Ms. Ada E. Yonath, a laureate of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her X-ray crystal structural analysis of ribosome.

Ms. Nozawa has discovered the complex structure and functions of two special molecules (PylRS and tRNA), which enable the insertion of various types of new amino acids into proteins when proteins are being made from DNA, the blueprint of life, thus contributing to the development of new protein synthesis technology that is useful for medical care and industry. While presenting her research results at many domestic and overseas academic conferences, Ms. Nozawa is also intensively engaged in research activities, compiling papers and writing reviews (Nature 2009 and biochemical journal mini-reviews). I wish her continued success in all of her endeavors.