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Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Women contribute every day to the progress in applied health research being made across the East Midlands. So, today we are celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science by telling two stories of remarkable women who work with us.

Professor Laura Gray was the brains behind the development of the Diabetes UK risk score for identifying those with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes or at risk of developing the condition in the future. 

With more than 1,700,000 people having completed the score online and many more in Tesco and Boots stores, it means that she has helped to make a real difference to people’s lives – with a significant proportion of these being diagnosed earlier on the back of it. This has led to them getting the right treatment for the condition to help steer them away from the devastating complications associated with type 2 diabetes. 

This is just one of Laura’s successes and still only in her thirties, she has quickly risen to become a Professor of Medical Statistics. She has a keen interest in type 2 diabetes prevention and management, becoming the senior statistician on many studies in these areas.

She said: “The areas of medical statistics I am particularly interested in are the design and analysis of clinical trials, development and validation of risk scores and evidence synthesis. I use my statistical expertise to ensure that research questions get answered in a robust way which can lead to changes in clinical practice. I hope that the research I am involved in can lead to better outcomes for those with type 2 diabetes and help prevent others from developing diabetes in the future.”

Dr Yogini Chudasama is another shining star, with her passion for mathematics and statistics which began in primary school leading to a job as an epidemiologist. The researcher has also collected a host of awards to mark the start of a promising career.

Yogini recently submitted her PhD thesis in epidemiology, funded by ARC East Midlands, after three years and is now working with the organisation to help solve the major challenges of multimorbidity.

Her studies explored multimorbidity and life expectancy, specifically the role of physical activity and other lifestyle behaviours.

Yogini’s work led to 10 awards in less than two years. In July, Yogini earned the ‘Highly Commended MPHrp Poster Award’ at the 10th NIHR Infrastructure Doctoral Research Training Camp: Attracting Further Research Funding.  Her achievements also include international awards, winning a Young Researcher Grant from the Luxembourg National Research Fund to attend and present her latest research at the European Diabetes Epidemiology Group (EDEG) conference 2019. 

Yogini, who is now an Epidemiologist / Statistician based at the Leicester Real World Evidence Unit, Leicester Diabetes Centre, said submitting her PhD was a “very proud and special moment”.

She said: “Today I am able to use my passion for mathematics and statistics, combined with medical research, to help solve the major challenges of multimorbidity in our society. I think it’s important to celebrate women in science, because having positive role models encourages other women to work hard and contribute to science, and make a significant difference. I would definitely encourage more early-career women to follow their passion in science, as I believe anything is possible.”

Published on: 11 Feb 2020