Dr. Lourdes Basabe-Desmonts, Research Fellow at the BDI, was one of the 4 awardees of the prestigious L’Oreal UNESCO UK and Ireland For Women in Science Fellowship announced in London on June 30th.

Lourdes won the award for her proposed research on developing screening techniques for stem cell differentiation.  Adult stem cells have the capacity to differentiate into different cell types which can be used for regenerative therapies. Ideally, cell based therapies should influence stem cell activity to enrich the adequate cell population depending on the desired therapy, for example, inducement of cell differentiation into osteoblasts for bone repair, or inducement of cell differentiation into chondrogenic cells in case of cartilage tissue replacement.

Lourdes award will enable her to develop novel types of sensing surfaces for the detection of proteins which allow continuous monitoring of the process of adult stem cell differentiation under different conditions. This technology will assist in understanding the process of cell differentiation and will contribute to the development of cell based therapies.  Additionally, the research has great potential for the development of novel diagnostic and biomedical platforms, and this aligns extremely well with the interests of the BDI. 

The award will allow Lourdes to obtain specialized training in Plasmon Resonance Energy Transfer (PRET) Spectroscopic imaging for living cells, Bionanoscience and Microsystems technologies in the group of Prof. Luke Lee at the University of California, Berkeley; which will be a unique opportunity to work with the pioneering group in this field. 

After six months in Berkeley, Lourdes will return to the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at DCU, where she will implement the knowledge acquired in the PRET technique and the differentiation of stem cells, opening a new research line. 

On winning the award, Lourdes commented “receiving this award is a great opportunity for my personal career development. It is recognition of my previous work and my capacity to generate innovative ideas which combine different disciplines and represent a fundamental research challenge. At the same time, my research has the potential to be developed into useful commercial products for the benefit of society, in this specific case in the health care field”.
The L’Oreal UNESCO UK & Ireland For Women In Science Fellowships, promote the importance of ensuring greater participation of women in science by offering awards to outstanding female researchers.