Winner of the WISE Research Award 2015
12 November 2015
Amrita Ahluwalia, Professor of Vascular Pharmacology, William Harvey Research Institute
The first woman in its 40-year history to receive the GlaxoSmithKline Prize in Clinical Pharmacology, Amrita’s research focuses on new prevention therapies for hypertension, using dietary interventions as well as pharmacology. Hypertension is a growing global epidemic affecting 1 billion people, thought to be responsible for 50% of all acute myocardial infarction which is the single biggest cause of mortality in the UK. Amrita’s finding that common foodstuffs such as beetroot can lower systemic blood pressure is likely to have a significant impact globally. “It was an extraordinary finding and captured the attention of the media as well as her scientific colleagues… not only a role model for women in science but for men also!” Roderick Flower, Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology.
To support other women in the profession, Amrita established a Prize for Excellence in Pharmacology for Women, developed a mentoring scheme for the British Pharmacological Society and is campaigning for medical research charities to improve the position for women winning fellowships to take maternity leave.
The judges heard how this winner is very focused on how the Award will bring credibility and backing to tackle what she sees as a systemic problem: that of women achieving senior roles in research and academia. Her ground-breaking research has the potential to make a global impact, particularly in poorer communities. She has great confidence and charisma and is dedicated to mentoring and championing female researchers.