Image: The women of EVE-M: clinicians, researchers, designers, and experts in business development and commercialisation
Today, as we celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we look at the some of the barriers that have been removed for women and girls in science, barriers that still need tackling, and celebrate those working in all areas of this field.
At present, less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women. This is due to long standing gender bias and stereotypes.
Burnet Institute is showcasing one of our female-led teams that’s also addressing female health issues, and celebrate their success within that 30 per cent.
The project, EVE-M (Enhancing the Vaginal Environment and Microbiome), is led by Burnet’s Professor Gilda Tachedjian.
EVE-M has secured funding from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Frontier Program, set up to fund unique, novel and transformative ideas that will produce practical benefits to Australians, and also globally.
The MRFF Frontier Program is highly competitive. Almost 1,200 applicants were reviewed by an international panel. Only 10 were granted funding from that round, and EVE-M was the only one led by a woman, and the only one tackling a female health issue.
Women’s health is often not prioritised. EVE-M aims to revolutionise women’s sexual and reproductive health, and places women at the centre of the design process.
This initiative will provide major insights on how the microbiome can impact on women’s health, and provide practical solutions. This includes the development of innovative technologies to regulate a woman’s vaginal microbiota over her lifetime to:
- Revolutionise the treatment of bacterial vaginosis
- Reduce the risk of spontaneous preterm birth
- Reduce the risk of STIs including HIV
- Develop multipurpose prevention technologies that target bacterial vaginosis, STIs/HIV and reduce the incidence of unplanned pregnancies.
“It’s not just a research project, but it’s focused on product development, so we want an outcome, we want to be internationally competitive, and we want to have an impact on health at home and globally,” Professor Tachedjian said.
Here are the Women of EVE-M. They are clinicians, researchers, designers, and experts in business development and commercialisation:
Lead Principal Investigator
- Professor Gilda Tachedjian (Head, Life Sciences Discipline) - Burnet Institute
- Professor Deborah Bateson (Clinician & Director) - Family Planning NSW
- Associate Professor Catriona Bradshaw (Clinician & Head of Genital Microbiota & Mycoplasma Group) - Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic, Alfred Health, and Monash University
Senior Management Team
- Ms Serina Cucuzza (EGM Commercial Strategy & Industry Partnerships) - Burnet Institute
- Dr Teresa Howard (Senior Technical Project Manager) - Burnet Institute
- Ms Bridgette Engeler (Strategic & Participatory Designer ) - Swinburne University
- Dr Nina Eikelis (Research Fellow/Scientist) - Swinburne University
- Dr Belinda Paulovich (Communication and Participatory Designer) - Swinburne University
- Dr Lenka Vodstrcil (Research Fellow/Biologist) - Melbourne Sexual Health/Monash University
- Dr Mirren Charnley (Research Fellow/Scientist) – Swinburne University
- Dr Anna Hearps (Senior Researcher/Scientist) – Burnet Institute
- Dr Agnes Michalczyk (Research Fellow/Scientist) – Deakin University
- Dr Lindi Masson (Senior Researcher/Scientist) - Burnet Institute
- Ms Angela Davis (Co-Design Research Officer) – Burnet Institute
- Ms Amali Cooray (Co-Design Research Assistant) – Swinburne University
- Ms Zarrin Ahmadi (PhD Student) – Swinburne University.