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Dr Bridget Stocker acknowledged for her significant contribution to chemistry

22 August 2011

2011 is the International Year of Chemistry, commemorating 100 years since Madame Marie Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

To mark the occasion, the international European Journal of Organic Chemistry has published a special issue dedicated to Women in Chemistry, and Dr Bridget Stocker, who heads the Malaghan Institute’s Immunoglycomics group, was one of two New Zealand female scientists selected to feature in it - the other being Prof Margaret Brimble from The University of Auckland.

The journal states that “this issue was compiled to highlight women in organic chemistry who have made a significant contribution to their field,” which is an incredible testament to the work that Dr Stocker and her team are doing here at the Malaghan Institute.

Dr Stocker’s research is focused on understanding the role of carbohydrates in biology, and applying this knowledge to the development of more effective therapies for diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis, and asthma.

In addition to contributing a research paper to the journal, where she describes some of her latest carbohydrate synthesis work, Dr Stocker was also asked to comment on the biggest challenge facing female organic chemists.

She responded, “Guilt. I think that many women have a hard time in striving to achieve without feeling guilty. To succeed in science, or in any career for that matter, focus and commitment are needed. Women may feel that they are neglecting other areas of their lives when focusing on their careers and may push themselves too far and too thin to compensate for this. Of course, men have the same pressures, though I feel that they are better able to accept the choices that they make without the associated ‘guilt’. Women should have more confidence with their choices without feeling like they need to do everything. Fortunately, as society becomes more gender equitable, men and women are better able to share the demands of life so that they can both achieve their goals.”

Dr Stocker’s research made the front cover of the European Journal of Organic Chemistry earlier this year and her PhD student Anna Win-Mason was pleasantly surprised to see it being showcased several times at the recent Eurocarb conference in Naples.  Anna’s conference presentation on her latest synthetic chemistry research was also selected for a special edition of the Journal Carbohydrate Research.  Another great acknowledgment of how well the Malaghan’s Immunoglycomics research is being received by the international scientific community.

Link to the Women in Chemistry special issue on the EurJOC website

Read more about Dr Stocker’s Immunoglycomics research

Read more about Dr Stocker’s Royal Society of New Zealand Marie Curie public lecture that she gave in New Plymouth in March of this year