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L’Oréal Honors This Year’s For Women in Science Laureate

Dr. Zhenan Bao is working on electronic skin to help people with prosthetics regain a sense of touch.

L’Oréal continues to be about more than just selling makeup and moisturizer. The latest move as it supports women in science is the company’s recognition of Dr. Zhenan Bao as a For Women in Science Laureate.

Bao is being honored for her work as a U.S. female scientist by the 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards. She is one of five global scientists feted this year as part of the For Women in Science program. Bao, who is working on electronic skin to help people with prosthetics regain a sense of touch, will receive a €100,000 prize for her significant contributions to science. She is a chemical engineering professor at Stanford University who created artificial skin that stretches, self-repairs and senses touch. The innovation has potential to help prosthesis users, burn victims and patients with alopecia or severe scarring.

For the past 19 years, the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation and UNESCO have committed to supporting the women scientists around the world and cultivating a community of women in science. Those honored will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Paris on March 23.

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They will join the 92 Laureates that have already been honored by the program since it began in 1998. The list includes professors Elizabeth Blackburn and Ada Yonath, who each went on to win a Nobel Prize.

The program also supports more than 250 young women scientists who will become the “scientists of tomorrow” by accompanying them during their Ph.D. thesis or post-doctoral studies.

Since 2001, L’Oréal and UNESCO have supported more than 2,600 young women from 115 countries via grants that are awarded on a national level. As of last year, the L’Oréal USA national program had awarded 65 post-doctoral women’s scientists over $3 million in grants. The company said it provides support at “pivotal” moments in women’s careers to empower them to further their work.