L’Oréal Turkey, which has been pursuing an important role in the Turkish operations of the program named ‘Women in Science’, sponsored by the Turkish National Committee to UNESCO, since 2003, allows the Turkish women of science to advance through their careers with confidence. Seventy-six women of science have been sponsored in Turkey until today. By means of this number, Turkey has become one of the five countries that sponsor women the most. Six women of science who work at Koç, Bilkent, Dokuz Eylül, Hacettepe, Ordu, and Abdullah Gül Universities were deemed worthy of an award because of their successful achievements in the categories of ‘Life Sciences’ and ‘Material Sciences’ in 2015, which was declared as ‘The International Year of Light’ by United Nations within the leadership of UNESCO.

We asked General Director of L’Oréal Turkey Claude Rumpler about their focus and the transformation of this program in Turkey since the first day. Claude Rumpler, who states that they become prominent as the company that invests the most in sciences, says, “L’Oréal has been pushing the limits of science since the day that it was founded by a scientist. Science is in the DNA of our brand and it is a massive building block for a sustainable work model. We have been awarding scholarships to five women of science until 2015 within the ‘Women in Science’ program. We are going to grant scholarships that are worth of $15.000 each to six women of science beginning from 2015. The six projects that have been rewarded are on important disorders of our time such as Alzheimer, depression, cancer or biosensors, DNA damages, and pollution.”

They work on Alzheimer, leukemia, and antidepressants
Three women of science have been rewarded in Life Sciences category in 2015. Member of the Medical Faculty Department of Medical Biology and Genetics of Dokuz Eylül University Assoc. Prof. Dr. Güneş Özhan has been granted an award for project focusing on unlocking the mechanisms of disorders such as Alzheimer. Özhan shared the following information about her project: “I target to understand the relations between the two types of signal pathways that are known to play important roles during the creation of nerve cells network and the nerve conduction in the brain.”

Another name who has been granted an award in this category is Member of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics of Koç University Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elif Nur Fırat Karalar who studies to develop new treatment methods for leukemia. Leukemia is a type of cancer that occurs when stem cells begin to divide beyond control and this might result in death if it is not treated. Karalar summarizes the goal of her project as determining the cellular and molecular disorders that cause leukemia.

The third name that was granted an award in the ‘Life Sciences’ category is Member of the Institute of Neurological Sciences and Psychiatry of Hacettepe University Assoc. Prof. Dr. Emine Eren Koçak who is going to determine new targets for antidepressant treatments. Koçak says, “My goal is to determine new targets for antidepressant treatments and contribute to our knowledge related to the neurobiology of depression, meaning how and why it has been developed.”

Projects in the aim of DNA damage, mobile sensors, preventing the harm caused by chemical substences to our environement 
Next in line is the three women who have been rewarded in the ‘Material Sciences’ category. Member of the Department of Chemistry Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Ordu University Assoc. Prof. Dr. Filiz Kurulay has been granted an award for her project in the aim of designing a mobile sensor to determine the problems that reduce the quality of life and cause serious health problems.

Member of the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering of Abdullah Gül University Asst. Prof. Dr. Hümeyra Çağlayan has become the second women of science to receive an award in the ‘Material Sciences’ category for her research on biosensors. Easy to use biosensors are developed to communicate the data collected from the environment, which is where the patient lives, to the hospital and to the doctor.

The third woman of science who has been rewarded in this category is Member of the Department of Chemistry and Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Bilkent University Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bilge Baytekin who targets to make the chemical substances harmless to our environment and health. Baytekin says, “The most known sources of these substances in our society are antibacterial soaps and personal care products. Through this research, we are going to explore the possible ways to terminate these and other harmful substances without harming our environment. If the results come out to be positive as they are expected, that would mean that we have leapt forward in the materialization of this technique. This is going to make possible conducting works to establish a facility that runs using this method in the coming years.”