Author:
Andres Tennus

UT archaeochemist Ester Oras receives the fellowship For Women in Science

The Estonian Academy of Sciences has announced that this year’s fellowship of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Baltic Young Talents programme is awarded to Ester Oras, Associate Professor in Analytical Chemistry and Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Tartu, whose research focuses on ancient dietary patterns and their associations with health.

The winner of the 6,000-euro prize Ester Oras, the principal investigator of the Archemy lab’s research team at the University of Tartu, studies ancient human nutrition and diseases using modern laboratory analysis methods.

“As an archeochemist, I’d like to show the impact of historical dietary patterns on our health and wellbeing, both in the past and today. My research materials are centuries- or millennia-old earthenware vessels and human skeletons. The use of archaeological material makes it possible to show how closely nutrition and health are intertwined, for example, the impact of diet on our physical appearance, the occurrence of metabolic diseases, changes in the microbiome or the development of long-term genetic mutations. Poetically speaking, I want to give colour and flavour to the past and bring history closer to us all,” Oras said.

The doctoral student’s award was given to Karolina Kudelina, a junior researcher at the Department of Electrical Power Engineering and Mechatronics, Tallinn University of Technology, who is developing an intelligent fault prevention system for electrical machines. According to the researchers, the fellowship is very important for them to continue their own research but also to encourage other young women to choose a career in science.

The President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences Tarmo Soomere says it is highly welcome that the fellowship programme supports the solving of important problems in society through methods in which the cutting-edge achievements of science and engineering are combined with messages that resonate with people and that only social sciences can offer. What is common for both awardees is their keen social nerve, for which they serve as a model for colleagues.

In Estonia, the award For Women in Science was issued for the first time six years ago. The eight brilliant researchers who have previously received the recognition are Els Heinsalu, Karin Kogermann, Tuul Sepp, Kaarin Parts, Prof. Maarja Grossberg, Lisandra Marina Da Rocha Meneses-Nandha, Kaija Põhako-Esko and Mari-Ann Lind.

The L’Oréal-UNESCO Baltic Young Talents programme For Women in Science is the only grant scheme in the Baltic states which, in cooperation with the Estonian National Commission for UNESCO and the Estonian Academy of Sciences, supports the professional development of female scientists and the achievement of their important goals. The programme emerged from the global programme For Women in Science, created by UNESCO and L’Oréal in 1998 to increase the number of female scientists and to promote gender equality in science.

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