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The campaign theme for this year is #BreakTheBias. Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality. Below is a text-only version of our video slideshow celebrating the achievements of several of DPAG’s women over the past year.

In March 2021 Nicola Smart and Sonali Munshaw identified a new target to development treatment for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, publishing their findings in ‘The Journal of Clinical Investigation’.

In June 2021, Nicola delivered the John French Memorial Lecture, which is given annually by a rising star in atherosclerosis research.

In April 2021, Samira Lakhal-Littleton was appointed Associate Professor in Cell Physiology and Tutorial Fellow at Brasenose College.

In May 2021, Samira’s research addressed a long-standing gap in our understanding of systemic iron homeostasis, publishing in ‘Kidney International’.

In April 2021, Louise Cotterell was appointed to the Advance HE Panel for the Athena Swan equality charter. She is responsible for reviewing Athena Swan applications submitted by UK universities and research institutes.

In May 2021, Nchimunya Nelisa Tebeka won the Diabetes UK Early Career Investigator Award for her DPhil work into the role of viperin in beta cell survival during the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes.

In June 2021, Jacinta Kalisch-Smith revealed evidence that iron deficiency anaemia in early pregnancy increases risk of heart defects, publishing with Duncan Sparrow in ‘Nature Communications’.

In June 2021, Lucija Fleisinger became the winner of The Sherrington Talks 2021, with her talk entitled "Endothelial KLF2 is developmentally regulated by two distal enhancers".

In July 2021, Katie Meads was promoted to Deputy HR Manager. She assists the HR Manager in manging the day-to-day operation of the HR function, supervising 3 members of the team to ensure delivery of an efficient service to the Department.

In July 2021, Dame Frances Ashcroft, who is renowned for her research into ion channels, particularly in the context of type 2 diabetes, became one of the inaugural Fellows of the IUPS Academy of Physiology.

In July 2021, Huriye Atilgan was awarded a prestigious Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship to pursue a 4-year project on “The role of claustrum in value-based decision-making.”

In July 2021, Lisa Heather showed through research published in ‘The FASEB Journal’ that in type 2 diabetes an overload of lipids reduces the heart’s ability to generate energy during a heart attack, decreasing chances of recovery.

In October 2021, Lisa followed up with a new paper published in ‘Diabetes’ finding that a drug known as molidustat could help diabetic hearts recover after heart attacks.

In August 2021, Gosia Cyranka and Sian Wilcox were awarded Early Career Researcher Poster Competition Prizes at Physiology 2021. Gosia for “Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) secretion from gut endocrine cells is pH dependent” and Sian for “Fasting-induced torpor in mice: implications for behavioural neuroscience research.”

In August 2021, Ana Domingos co-published a study in ‘Nature’ offering new therapeutic avenues for reducing visceral fat stores, which are associated with cardiovascular disease and multiple types of cancer.

In November 2021, Ana was appointed Editor-in-Chief for the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, a post she will commence in July 2022.

In August 2021, Xin Sun was shortlisted in the British Heart Foundation’s annual ‘Reflections of Research’ image competition with ‘Texture of a heart’.

In September 2021, Kaitlyn Dennis won the William C. Stanley Young Investigator Award (EIA) for “Diabetic mitochondria are resistant to palmitoyl CoA inhibition of respiration, which is detrimental during ischaemia” and Kerstin Timm won the Best Poster Award for “AICAR prevents doxorubicin-induced heart failure in rats" at the 2021 Society for Heart and Vascular Metabolism conference.

In October 2021, Helen Christian was awarded a Medical Sciences Division Teaching Excellence Award for consistent excellence in teaching. Her Excellent Teacher Award reflected very positive student feedback about the online teaching resources and live Teams Q&A she ran during the lockdown period while students were studying from home.

In October 2021, a research project led by Stephanie Cragg won a $9 million grant from Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) to map the previously uncharted original circuits vulnerable to Parkinson’s on an unprecedented scale. In February 2022, Cláudia Mendes was appointed Project Manager to be the main point of contact between the global ASAP network and an international collaborative multidisciplinary team.

In October 2021, Gabriela Vilema EnriquezSarah Pearce and Milena Cioroch were instrumental in the Wade-Martins Group achieving a Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) Bronze award in recognition of its sustainable practices.

In November 2021, Dame Kay Davies delivered DPAG’s inaugural Sir Wilfrid Le Gros Clark Prize Lecture outlining her award-winning work researching genetic Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Kay ‘retired’ at the end of June 2021 and remains Professor Emeritus in DPAG.

In November 2021, Judy Sayers became the winner of the DPAG Student Poster Day 2021 “A Year of progress” with her poster entitled "Regeneration of the Cardiac Conduction System". The three runners-up were Antara Majumdar, Ester Paolocci and Tara Diviney.

In January 2022, a public engagement project led by Tomoko Watanabe was awarded a £188K Enriching Engagement grant. "Shaping Destiny: Experiments in Embodiment” will engage the local Oxford community with a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the human form.

In January 2022, Florina Szabo won first prize in the DPAG Image Competition for her image of merged cortex. The epifluorescent image shows PV+ interneurons (green) in the mouse motor and somatosensory cortex and glutamatergic layer 5 cortical pyamidal neurons (red). She also had four additional commended images selected for display in the Sherrington building. Judy Sayers won third prize for her image “The cardiac conduction system and coronary arteries”. Zeynep Okray and Auguste Vadisiute also had commended pictures selected for display.

In February 2022, Sarah De Val’s BHF Fellowship was hand picked to be funded by the 2022 TCS London Marathon, one of just eight selected projects. Her team studies how blood vessels develop, with the aim of manipulating blood vessel growth in the human heart so that it can recover better after a heart attack. The BHF’s runners, who are raising £3 million in funding, will include De Val Lab postdoctoral researcher Alice Neal.

More information on these stories can be found on the DPAG Website News pages.

DPAG also has a dedicated website to ‘Women in Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics’ celebrating the contribution of some of the women who have contributed to the success of the Department, and its predecessor departments, over the last century. Find out more about the achievements of over 60 women past and present.

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