Maryam Mirzakhani: first female Fields Medal winner

Being awarded the Fields Medal, which is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Mathematics, is the highest professional honor for mathematicians. This prestigious international award is given every four years to mathematicians under the age of 40. Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian mathematician, was the first woman to reach the pinnacle of math and the only female to win this prestigious prize until now. Her achievements are absolutely astounding, linking geometry and dynamics together [1].

Maryam was born on 12th May 1977 in Tehran, Iran. Interestingly, as a child, she was very keen on reading novels as well as making up stories, and she thought she would be a writer. But she soon got highly interested in mathematics [3]. She could obtain a gold medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad in 1994, scoring 41 out of 42 [2,3]. In the following year, she earned another gold medal at this competition with a perfect score [2,3]. In 1999, Maryam obtained her B.Sc. degree in mathematics from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. Then, she pursued her Ph.D. program at Harvard University. Her Ph.D. thesis is considered a masterpiece and led to three papers in top journals in mathematics.

Maryam became a research fellow of the Clay Mathematics Institute and a professor at Princeton University in 2004. Five years later, she continued her career at the Department of Mathematics of Stanford University. Her research was mainly focused on the theory of modular spaces of Riemann surfaces. She also contributed enormously to the fields of hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry. Finally, Maryam made history in 2014 and became the first woman and the first Iranian awarded a Fields Medal.

Unfortunately, this young female mathematician was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and passed away on 14th July 2017 at the age of 40. The mathematics community lost one of the brightest stars, a woman who could inspire many people, particularly all the girls, to follow their dreams to succeed. It is worthwhile to mention that the International Council for Science declared Maryam Mirzakhani’s birthday, 12 May, as International Women in Mathematics Day in respect of her memory.

Header Image: Fields Medal, Maryam Mirzakhani

This article was written by Mahdieh Mosayebias part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Mahdieh is researching the Design of Self Lubricating Prothesis at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Advances in non-invasive skin cancer imaging

Header Image:  Schematic in-vivo skin cancer imaging, with a synthetic bandwidth of 98 GHz using the designed ultra-wideband millimeter-wave imaging system.

Chances of early skin cancer treatment and intervention are enabled through tissue biopsy; prescribed by doctors when they suspect abnormal cell growth. The process itself requires doctors to harvest a sample of suspect tissue from individuals for external laboratory testing, leaving the patients with pain and wounds that take a long time to heal along with a period of uncertainty around cancer diagnosis whilst the sample is analysed.

However, a group of researchers from the Stevens Institute of Technology recently developed a technology to investigate abnormal tissues in-vivo and in real time by scanning a patient’s skin using millimetre-wave imaging technology, which is the same technology used in airport security scanners.

By examining 72 patients they were able to correctly differentiate benign and malignant lesions according to the way that the skin was reflecting light back. According to the research team, this happens due to the changes in the chemical composition of the cells. By utilizing an algorithm they are able to gather information and produce a 3D image in seconds even for the tiniest mole or imperfections indicative of cancer.

The device had a sensitivity and specificity of 97-98% and is comparable to even the greatest hospital-grade diagnostic instruments. Even though there are other devices available, those are not available in every clinic because of their size and cost. The technology that the team is developing is poised to integrate all the antennas and their circuits in a single chip making the device very small and low in cost.


Mirbeik, Amir, Robin Ashinoff, Tannya Jong, Allison Aued, and Negar Tavassolian. “Real-time high-resolution millimeter-wave imaging for in-vivo skin cancer diagnosis.” Scientific Reports 12, no. 1 (2022): 1-10.

This article was written by Edona Hyla as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Edona’s research is focussing on Understanding the Nature, Origin and Degradation of Implant Debris at the University of Leeds, UK

Phenomenology of group hiking: BioTrib ESRs into the nature

Stepping out of the office and the concrete jungle, we found ourselves in a place where the mountains are reflecting sunlight and the snow is melting into music. When you struggle to pull out the leg stuck in the lap-high snow, you know you’re now reconnected to nature, swallowed up by the scene. Going on a hike is much more than refreshing our lungs with chill and delicious air, illuminating our sensations with splendid sceneries, or a physical workout with a limited source of food and water. It’s also an underrated choice for group activities.

What makes group hiking a good group activity? Consider these aspects:

Team building and group dynamics

✅ Interactions and conversations during the group hiking bring about the feeling of closeness and togetherness

✅ There must be a decision-maker leading the way and choosing the route, so you have to trust your teammates! As the leader or any member of the group, it’s important to make sure not to walk too fast and look after your mates who might be left behind

✅ Accomplishing a common goal (in this case, finishing the trail) with everyone’s presence and participation builds up the inclusiveness and strengthens the team spirit

The great outdoors

Leisure and Wellness

Pack only essential things and leave behind luxury supplements as well as tasks that are undone can be mentally challenging, but the tension is instantly released the moment you are on your way

While finding our balance of walking on snowy, slippery trails, we focus on very minimum things: breathing and steps, which distracts us from all the complexity of real life. This simplicity brings the mental calmness and quietness

A break from the daily routine helps a lot with regenerating the efficiency and improving the performance at work. When your mental battery is drained off, go on a hike and come back with a fully charged one

The glimpse of the million-year-old landscape reminded us of the infinity of the world and the smallness and finitude of being, meanwhile inspiring us with the courage and strength of people who conquered nature before us!

A big shout out to everyone involved in organising such a fantastic trip!


Bongaardt, Rob, Idun Røseth, and Børge Baklien. “Hiking leisure: Generating a different existence within everyday life.” SAGE Open 6.4 (2016): 2158244016681395.

This post was written by Esperanza Shi as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Esperanza is researching the Optimisation of Scanning Strategies for 3D Printed Artificial Joints at Imperial College London, UK.

Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, the United Nation General Assembly adopted the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs, see figure) described as a “universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity” [1]. These goals follow the previous set of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 1990 which were focused on reducing poverty, easing hunger and child mortality, and improving access to clean water and sanitation. As the consequences of climate change, like increased air pollution, sea level rise, drought, disappearance of ecosystems are affecting negatively more and more populations, the United Nation oriented the SDGs toward the limitation of climate change. Sustainable development aims at managing human activity to meet today’s population needs without compromising resources for future generations.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nation body responsible for assessing the science of climate change, reminds us that climate change and sustainable development are fundamentally connected. Indeed, limiting global warming can make it much easier to achieve the SDGs. Moreover, the connection is also made in a sense that, as mentioned previously, some of the SDGs are specifically dedicated to counteracting the effect of climate change, such as SDG 14 (life below water) and 15 (life on land) for protecting ecosystems, and SDG 13 (climate action) for taking urgent action to combat climate change. The result of this close link is that action in one area of the SDGs will affect outcomes in other areas, such as climate adaptation measures that benefit local ecosystems and health. The IPCC highlights the fact that adaptation measures have to be taken at all levels in order to favorize synergy between the different goals for sustainable development [2].

Biomedical research trying to improve patient’s everyday life can be used to support goal number 3: good health and well-being. As we are working in order to be useful to people, how can we make research activity more sustainable in practice from an environmental perspective? In 2020 an article titled “Ten simple rules to make your research more sustainable” was published in Plos Computational Biology by Anne-Laure Ligozat et al. In this article, the authors based their reflection on the SDGs and underline the fact that all human activity including research needs to be more sustainable by reducing the carbon footprint and environmental impact [3].
The ten rules described in the article are the following:

  1. Small actions are a good start to modify habits step by step.
  2. Be informed about carbon emitting activities and environmental issues. It can be done through reading summaries of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports or by being trained through formations and courses.
  3. Prefer train over plane to go to scientific meetings to limit CO2 emissions.
  4. Take advantage of remote participation to limit long distance travels.
  5. Work collectively and reproducibly through open science and sharing knowledge.
  6. Encourage bottom-up sustainable initiatives to engage the community.
  7. Evaluate the impact of the research practices.
  8. Ask sustainability research questions.
  9. Transfer ecofriendly gestures from home to the lab like plastic use limitation and recycling. A correspondence published in Nature in 2015 also mentioned the fact that labs should cut plastic waste too and that have greener lab practices could be a requirement in the grant application process [4].
  10. Raise awareness to go toward collective actions.

What stands out is that being informed and discuss this problematic are some of the most important points to initiate changes.

You can find more information about these rules in the article [3] and have a look at good practice initiative like S-Labs in the United Kingdom [5] and International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories in the USA [6].

[1] Sustainable Development Goals in action; available from: [cited 2022-05-30].

[2] What are the Connections between Sustainable Development and Limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C above Pre-Industrial Levels?; available from [cited 2022-05-30]

[3] Ligozat A-L, Névéol A, Daly B, Frenoux E (2020). Ten simple rules to make your research more sustainable. PLoS Comput Biol 16(9): e1008148.

[4] Urbina M, Watts A, Reardon E (2015). Labs should cut plastic waste too. Nature 528, 479.

[5] Safe, Successful, Sustainable Lab; available from: [cited 2022-05-30].

[6] I2SL; available from: [cited 2022-05-30].

This article was written by Marie Moulin as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Marie is researching the Bioprinting of Bone and Cartilage at Uppsala University, Sweden.

Perceptions Of The Transgender Community In Academia

Transgender people are clearly under-represented in academia and in many spaces in society. How many transgender and non-binary teachers did you have from elementary school to the university? How many of them have you seen in the spaces and the places you often go?

The transgender community is clearly deprived of opportunities and pushed early on to violence, especially if they are from non-white ethnical groups. The discrimination against transgender people often starts with them receiving less protection from their families [1]. According to the Race and Equality and the National Association of Travestis and Transexuals of Brazil (ANTRA), the life expectancy of transgender people is only 35 years, and if they are black 28. In Brazil, about 90% of the transgender population works in prostitution. This stigmatizes them for their whole lives making them prone to violence, depression, and anxiety [1]. 19% to 47% of transgender people report suicide attempts[2], they also report considerably more harassment (50%) and hiring discrimination based on their identity (44%) [3]. According to Sansone, North American LGBTQ+ students are less likely to obtain a degree and have poorer GPAs compared to other students. They are also less likely to attend college and finish a degree [4].

Renata Borges, Brazilian activist, politician, and STEM student at UTFPR Apucarana in 2019’s protests against budget cuts organized by her.

Renata Borges, Brazilian politician, woman in STEM shares: “I believe that social inequalities are still largely responsible for the transsexual community not being seen or seeing itself in the field of science. The few of us who access higher education when entering the Academia find a white and sexist science standard. In addition, not surprising women scientists and researchers cannot fit into the cisgender society. It will take a few decades before one or some of us can take a leading role and occupy spaces that are ours by right in the academia.”

More than anything, we need to discuss policies to guarantee the success of trans people in school and higher education. Progress has been made in recognizing gay marriage and making it easier for trans people to transition in Europe; however, we still have a long way to go to guarantee every letter in the LGBTQ+ community worldwide is effectively seen and given the same opportunities.

This article was written by André Plath as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

André is researching Boundary Lubrication of Fibrous Scaffolds at ETH Zürich, Switzerland.


As pessoas trans estão claramente sub-representadas na academia e em muitos espaços da sociedade. Quantos professores transgêneros e não-binários você teve desde o ensino fundamental até a universidade? Quantos deles você já viu nos espaços e nos lugares que frequenta?

A comunidade transgênero é claramente privada de oportunidades e empurrada desde cedo para a violência, especialmente se forem de grupos étnicos não brancos. A discriminação contra os transgêneros muitas vezes começa com eles recebendo menos proteção de suas famílias [1]. De acordo com a Raça e Igualdade e a Associação Nacional de Travestis e Transexuais do Brasil (ANTRA), a expectativa de vida das pessoas trans é de apenas 35 anos e, se forem negras, 28. No Brasil, cerca de 90% da população transgênero trabalha em prostituição. Isso os estigmatiza por toda a vida, tornando-os propensos à violência, depressão e ansiedade [1]. 19% a 47% das pessoas transgênero relatam tentativas de suicídio [2], elas também relatam consideravelmente mais assédio (50%) e discriminação de contratação com base em sua identidade (44%) [3]. De acordo com Sansone, os estudantes LGBTQ+ norte-americanos são menos propensos a obter um diploma e têm GPAs mais baixos em comparação com outros estudantes. Eles também são menos propensos a frequentar a faculdade e terminar um curso [4].

Renata Borges, política brasileira, mulher no STEM compartilha: “Acredito que as desigualdades sociais ainda são as grandes responsáveis ​​pela comunidade transexual não ser vista ou se ver no campo da ciência. Os poucos de nós que acessam o ensino superior ao entrar na Academia encontram um padrão de ciência branco e machista. Além disso, não é de surpreender que as mulheres cientistas e pesquisadoras não possam se encaixar na sociedade cisgênero. Levará algumas décadas até que um ou alguns de nós possam assumir um papel de liderança e ocupar espaços que são nossos por direito na academia.”

Mais do que tudo, precisamos discutir políticas para garantir o sucesso das pessoas trans na escola e no ensino superior. Houve progresso no reconhecimento do casamento gay e na facilitação da transição de pessoas trans na Europa; no entanto, ainda temos um longo caminho a percorrer para garantir que todas as cartas da comunidade LGBTQ+ em todo o mundo sejam efetivamente vistas e tenham as mesmas oportunidades.


[1]          D.C. Lefebvre, J.F. Domene, Workplace Experiences of Transgender Individuals: A Scoping Review, (2020) 29.

[2]          Q.A. Hunt, Q.J. Morrow, J.K. McGuire, Experiences of Suicide in Transgender Youth: A Qualitative, Community-Based Study, Archives of Suicide Research. 24 (2020) S340–S355.

[3]          M. Granberg, P.A. Andersson, A. Ahmed, Hiring Discrimination Against Transgender People: Evidence from a Field Experiment, Labour Economics. 65 (2020) 101860.

[4]          D. Sansone, LGBT students: New evidence on demographics and educational outcomes, Economics of Education Review. 73 (2019) 101933. Associacao Nacional de Travestis e Transexuais. Dossier Murders and Violence against travestis and trans people in Brazil in 2019. Available at: <>

BioTrib DePuy Visit

DePuy Manufacturing was established in Indiana in the 1890s. Since then they have grown into one of the world’s leading companies in Orthopaedics.

BioTrib Early Stage Researchers recently took part in the “All about patients and networking” event in Leeds visiting DePuy Synthesis, the Orthopaedics Company now owned by Johnson & Johnson. It was a pleasure to see the excellent work done in Research & Innovation towards developing new advances in joint replacement along with many other orthopaedic medical devices.

During the visit, the BioTrib group gained a lot of insight into the latest advancements and technologies from Johnson & Johnson MedTech including the latest experimental and validation methods of 3D printing technologies as part of the next generation of patient custom interventions. There was a great overview of all the stages of product delivery, from designing, manufacturing, and testing innovative MedTech solutions.

The visit itself was an invaluble experience for the Early Stage Researchers to get an overview of how their research can be implemented in Industry, the wider scope of medical device engineering, as well as a good opportunity to expand their professional networks.



This article was written by Edona Hyla as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Edona’s research is focussing on Understanding the Nature, Origin and Degradation of Implant Debris at the University of Leeds, UK


Space and Medicine: an unexpected connection

So many lives have been saved thanks to the Hubble Telescope.

It sounds incredible but, among the tens of thousands of examples of technologies and their positive impacts on human lives, there is one story that reminds us how remarkable space exploration can be. An extraordinary story that begins with a colossal failure.

Mammography with arrows highlighting artefacts indicative of breast cancer

The image shows a mammography, and the arrows indicate microcalcifications, which are sometimes the telltale sign of breast cancer.

It was possible to detect those microcalcifications sharply because of the legendary Hubble telescope. You may be wondering how.

At the beginning of its usage, the first Hubble images were blurry because the primary mirror had been over-smoothed and flattened 2 thousandths of a millimeter too much. It is roughly one-fiftieth the thickness of a sheet of paper, yet thick enough to bounce the incident light slightly out of focus. Thus, various techniques were developed to increase the dynamic range and spatial resolution of Hubble’s initially blurred images before detecting the true cause and repairing it.

These techniques had also been applied to medicine and, in this case, allowed doctors to detect calcifications in the female breast that were smaller than before and would otherwise have gone undetected, resulting in earlier diagnosis and treatment, which is critical as the earlier the cancer is detected and treated, the greater the chances of a patient making a full recovery.

This is only one of many, many, endless instances of how space research can improve our lives.

Furthermore, this is an excellent example of how, even when a project appears to fall short of its goals or is deemed a failure, the spillover effects on the daily lives of human beings can be enormous.

This article was written by Elisa Bissacco as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

She is studying a PhD in Tribological Characteristics of Nanofibrous Electrospun Materials at ETH Zurich.

1000 LinkedIn Followers

Over the past year the BioTrib community has been busy growing our online presence to showcase the impressive progress of our Early Stage Researchers and Scientists! We have also been building an expanding directory of biotribology scientific communications accessible to researchers from all technical fields along with championing initiatives for diversity and inclusion in STEM.

The BioTrib website and blog now consistently well over 1000 unique users a month with around 10% returning visitors and 90% new users!

Our community is growing and we have stayed true to our social media mission of:

To raise awareness of BioTrib and its community as an internationally recognised European funded group for advanced research training of the biotribology and natural artificial joints in the 21st Century.

Through a variety of engaging articles and resources. We are also proud to be cultivating a community that is so keenly engaged with promoting LGBTQIA, racial diversity, and women inclusion in STEM.

Thank you BioTrib community!



ESB 2022: Effect of Conduction Gaps and Increased Collector Rotation Speed on Electrospun PCL matrices

Very happy and pleased to have attended and presented the last week, together with my colleague Elisa Bissacco, our first poster at the #ESB22 (27th Congress of the European Society of Biomechanics) in Porto about the “Effect of Conduction Gaps and Increased Collector Rotation Speed on Electrospun PCL matrices”.

It was a fantastic and unique experience that gave us the opportunity to exchange views with experts in the field and exchange new ideas with an international network of colleagues and get to know the most recent works in the biomechanical field.

Looking forward to the next experiences and networking events.

A special thanks to Matthias Santschi for helping us in this work and to our supervisor Stephen J. Ferguson that gave us the opportunity to present our work at such a prestigious conference.

This article was written by Alessio Amicone as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Alessio is investigating the Elucidation of Friction-Induced Failure Mechanisms in Fibrous Collagenous Tissues at ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

Ben Clegg – Best Oral Presentation Prize

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting and attending at the conference for the Swedish Society of Biomechanics in Stockholm.

This was my first networking event outside the BioTrib consortium, so it was a great chance and experience to meet fellow colleagues working in the medical engineering field. The first day was a PhD and Post doctoral event enabling us to meet and chat with present and future associates. The following two days composed of engaging presentations and posters.

And I am honoured to have received the award for the prize of Best Oral Presentation! Titled: Biocompatibilty of 3D printed Polymers for use in total joint replacements.

I am looking forward to future conferences and networking events to present my forthcoming work and meet up with new friends and collaborators. I would like to thank Luleå University of Technology, the BioTrib consortium and Professor Nazanin Emami for providing me with the platform and opportunity to present my work and help promote myself in the field of Medical Engineering.

I thank you for taking the time to read this

Ben Clegg

This article was written by Ben Clegg part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Ben is researching the Wear particle characterization and bio-compatibility of newly 3D printed self-lubricating polymer composites in total joint replacements at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.

EFORT 2022

The European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (EFORT) recently hosted its 23rd Congress in Lisbon, Portugal. This years main theme was Modern Patient Needs – Challenges and Solutions In Orthopaedics and Trauma.

PhD student Rob Elkington along with NU-SPINE Early Stage Researchers Beril Yenigul and Kaushikk Iyer all attended to present their orthopaedic biotribology projects to one of Europes largest meetings of knee, hip, and spine surgeons and researchers.

Kaushikk Iyer presented his ongoing research work which demonstrates the development of a novel portable benchtop setup that act as a representative to an orthopaedic joint wear simulator used as a pre-clinical evaluation tool for the testing of spine, hip and knee prostheses. Using Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL) simulation, advanced control algorithms can be designed and tested rigorously and rapidly on the setup before its deployment into the joint wear simulator to test profiles of ISO standards and beyond that represent daily-living activities of patients.

Rob Elkington presented his poster on ‘Biomimetic PEEK Surfaces For Cartilage Preserving Focal Resurfacing’ which employs novel highly lubricious polymer brush systems optimised to interface with cartilage and preserve healthy tissue for minimally invasive focal cartilage repairs and hemiarthroplasty to delay and mitigate the need for total joint replacements.

Beril presented her poster on the ‘Design of Facet Joint Resurfacing Bearings for Tribological Testing Purposes’ which showcases a new paradigm in preclinical testing for facet joint implants in a custom built simulator.

Header Image: Kaushikk Iyer, Rob Elkington, Beril Yenigul who are all studying PhDs in Medical Engineering at the University of Leeds.

Self-healing jelly – Revolutionary invention to treat Total Joint Replacements (TJR)

The Australian National University (ANU) have invented a new jelly material from hydrogel that can repair itself after it has been broken like human skin can. Although Hydrogels are very weak having higher water content, the special chemistry they engineered in the hydrogel made it so strong that can hold 1000 times higher load than its own weight.

This jelly is also able to change its shape within a form of temperature and could retain its original properties after tearing. This ideal behaviour makes it highly applicable for next generation biomedical implant that will reduce the need for revision surgery.

One of the team member Ms Li Tan said, “If it was a biomedical implant it can basically self-heal within the human body without the need for additional surgery”.

For more information read and watch the video here!

Learn more about the progress of this new hydrogel technology on the Australian National University press release.

This article was written by MM Raihan as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Raihan is researching In-situ Measurement of Nano-scale Wear Utilising Advanced Sensors at University of Leeds, UK.

Working in an international office

As a student from the U.K. I have minimal experience of working with people from different cultures. So moving to a new country in Sweden has provided me with new experiences.

Within my office alone, we are 3 nationalities (UK, Nepalese and Dutch) with the wider polymer group consisting of Russian German and Nepalese nationalities.

I find this really exciting as not only do you gain knowledge about the cultures but differences in academic approaches and problem solving, providing a diverse work environment that benefits everyone.

One of the most interesting aspects that I have learnt from is the education route for others, from international masters programs to those who studied in Luleå from the bachelor level.

Luleå as a city is a considerable distance away from each person’s hometown or original place of study. As such relocating is not simple or an easy feat. I believe that this is a small factor in the working environment of the group, as we all appreciate the effort, time and commitment that is needed to move to a completely different part of the world.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few months as a PhD student at LTU, and I’m looking forward to progressing alongside my new colleagues in the near future.

Header Image: Locations of original places of study in PhD group relative to Luleå

This article was written by Ben Clegg part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Ben is researching the Wear particle characterization and bio-compatibility of newly 3D printed self-lubricating polymer composites in total joint replacements at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.


Pride in STEM: Get Involved

Pride Month 2023 is here! BioTrib is committed to raising the visibility of LGBTQ+ researchers, students, and staff in STEM. Pride month is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity that enable our research communities, but also to reflect and contribute to the ongoing struggle for equal civil rights globally and raise awareness on vital issues to the LGBTQ+ community in the pursuit of equality.

Why is LGBTQ+ representation still so important STEM? It is estimated LGBT people are approximately 20% less represented in STEM fields than expected [Cech, 2017]. With nearly 28% of LGBT and 50% of trans staff at least once considering leaving the workplace due to a climate of discrimination [RSC, IOP 2019].

Check out these great initiatives for STEM LGBTQ+ and allied researchers to get involved with:

  • Pride in STEM is a charitable trust run by an independent group of LGBT+ scientists & engineers from around the world. They run a range of events and initiatives to raise the profiles of LGBTQ+ researchers in STEM.
  • 500 Queer Scientists is a visibility campaign for LGBTQ+ people and their allies working in STEM and STEM-supporting jobs — a group that collectively represents a powerful force of scientific progress and discovery. 1,688 stories and counting!
  • Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM), is a non-profit professional association for LGBTQ+ people in the STEM community. With over 100 student chapters at colleges/universities and professional chapters in cities across the USA, UK, and Canada. You can join a local chapter of even start your own!
  • The LGBTQ+ Stem Cast podcast by Felix Berrios  aims to expand the voices of LGBTQ+ Scientists from a variety of disciplines. With a range of guests they discuss their research, upbringing, and how their passion for science started.
  • Stonewall, a UK based charity who run a range of LGBTQ+ events, workshops, and provide a host of resources for those of us looking to explore our identity, coming out, and LGBTQ+ issues.
  • You! Start your own initiatives at your institution for championing LGBTQ+ visibility, perhaps start your own diversity coffee hour or workshop!

Read more about BioTrib’s commitment to promoting equality.



BioTrib ESRs network with the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology

BioTrib ETH Zurich ESRs Alessio Amicone and Elisa Bissacco, as well as other colleagues from ETH Zurich and from different research institutions, had the great opportunity to attend The Lab Networking event that took place on Friday, May 20th at Empa [1]. The Empa is the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, a fascinating and inspiring place in St. Gallen that generates top-notch research. The event was organized by the Young Scientists that are part of the Swiss Society for Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine (SSB+RM).

Following a welcome presentation that introduced the guests to Empa and specifically to activities in the department “Materials meet Life”, a guided lab tour allowed visitors to observe and learn about a variety of high-quality ongoing research at Empa, such as Hydrogel-composites in medicine, textile sensors, and implants & in vitro tissue models. To give an example, researchers at Empa have succeeded in creating optic sensor fibers that work perfectly in textiles. This could be very useful for hospitals that might use this information to see if a patient is developing pressure sores.

Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology

A networking session followed it, during which Empa-researchers showed their most recent work on posters and scientists had the opportunity to debate and exchange ideas with them.

“This visit was a great illustration of how interesting it can be to explore beyond your own study areas and see what is going on in other research fields, particularly how other disciplines evolve. It was also a great chance to network with other scientists working in the fields of biomaterials and regenerative medicine, whether from academia or specialized research institutions”, says Alessio. Elisa adds “It was a fantastic opportunity to tour Empa’s laboratory, to learn about their equipment instrumentation, and several applications in various fields.”



This article was written by Alessio Amicone as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Alessio is investigating the Elucidation of Friction-Induced Failure Mechanisms in Fibrous Collagenous Tissues at ETH Zürich, Switzerland.