Brown Selected as a 2020 L’Oreal Fellow

Named a L’Oreal 2020 For Women in Science Fellow, Wendy Brown researches the engineering of cartilage for facial reconstruction. She is a postdoctoral scholar in biomedical engineering. Photo Credit: Rich Gilligan

Nov. 16, 2020 - Wendy Brown, a UC Irvine postdoctoral scholar in biomedical engineering, has been named a 2020 For Women in Science Fellow by L'Oréal USA. Brown is one of five female postdoctoral scientists in the country to receive a fellowship grant of $60,000 to advance her research.

Working in the lab of Distinguished Professor Kyriacos Athanasiou, Brown focuses on engineering cartilage for facial reconstruction. Nasal cartilage pathologies (such as congenital defects) and trauma have devastating health effects for civilians and military personnel. Large, mechanically robust grafts are required for reconstructive rhinoplasty and are frequently harvested from a patient's own nasal septum. However, this is often not possible because the nose is damaged and unable to withstand additional tissue removal. Brown is working on growing cartilage in anatomical shapes and sizes from highly expanded cells for surgical implantation. Her research seeks to help millions of people around the world with facial damage due to cancer, burns, congenital defects or other physical trauma.

“This fellowship allows me to establish myself as an independent scientist and to pursue career-defining research in my area of interest,” said Brown. “Uniquely, this fellowship also gives me the resources to serve as a mentor and to develop science outreach programs for other young women in STEM, which is something that I’m very passionate about.”

Now in its 17th year, L’Oreal’s annual For Women in Science program has recognized 85 postdoctoral female scientists and contributed over $4 million to the advancement of critical research in fields as diverse as neurobiology, metabolic diseases, physics and material science, integrative biology and biomedical engineering. Fellowship candidates are evaluated based on their intellectual merit, research potential, scientific excellence and their commitment to supporting women and girls in science. 

– Lori Brandt