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Murdoch researcher wins international L’Oréal - UNESCO Women in Science award

Institute News
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 - 12:15pm
Dr Elena Tucker from the Institute’s Molecular Development Laboratory is proving that women in science have the power to change the world.

Dr Tucker is the only Australian to be awarded the 2016 L’Oréal - UNESCO Women in Science award. The L’Oreal awards will be presented at a ceremony in Paris on 23rd March. They recognised 15 International Rising Talents who are offering new solutions and answering vital questions in the field of science.

Understanding the genetic basis of early menopause

Infertility is a global problem affecting some 50 million couples worldwide. One form of female infertility is Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) which affects up to one in 100 women under the age of 40, and one in 1,000 women under the age of 30.

A specialist in the genetic basis of disease, Dr Elena Tucker is researching POI, usually known as premature menopause, which is menopause that occurs before the age of 40. Although more than 50 genes may be implicated in the condition, the exact cause of premature menopause in most patients remains unknown.

One goal is that genetic causes for POI can be identified “so that we can identify women before they enter this “premature menopause” and preserve their eggs for later IVF,” she said.

“What I love about this research study is that not only are we looking for the cause of a problem, but finding that cause could also translate into real life solutions for this problem. I want to make sure that the research I do has real outcomes, and helps people that are struggling with genetic diseases, such as mitochondrial disease or POI” says Dr Tucker.

A successful career... and more to come

This is the second time Dr Tucker’s work has been recognised and awarded. In 2014 she was one of three winners of the 2014 L'Oréal - UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship for Australia and New Zealand for her research into mitochondrial disease.

Dr Tucker is excited about extending her family soon; she is due to have her second child in a few months. The financial support from the award will allow her to continue her research into POI once she returns from maternity leave.

Read more about the L'Oréal - UNESCO For Women in Science awards.