2023/11/22  Düsseldorf / Germany

These are the winners of this year’s Martha Schwarzkopf Award

Henkel recognizes female researchers with the “Martha Schwarzkopf Award for Women in Science”

For the second time, Henkel is presenting the “Martha Schwarzkopf Award for Women in Science,” a research prize to promote and honor outstanding female scientists in the field of hair research. The three winners of this year’s award have been honored in Düsseldorf and, in addition to prize money, will also receive the offer of scientific exchange and support for their research work by Henkel experts.

Equal opportunities and gender equality are integral parts of Henkel’s corporate culture. That’s why Henkel supports women in a wide variety of areas – inside and outside the company. As women continue to be underrepresented in the field of research, Henkel has launched the Martha Schwarzkopf Award for Women in Science last year as one example to support women in science. With the award, Henkel is committed to promoting talented women in science and supporting them in their research projects. “We are very pleased to further strengthen our scientific network in the field of hair research with this year's winners of the Martha Schwarzkopf Award for Women in Science. At the same time, we support outstanding female researchers in advancing the science of hair and the hair follicle and thus gain new insights to continuously improve the lives of our customers,” says Frank Meyer, Head of R&D Henkel Consumer Brands.

The Martha Schwarzkopf Award is a research prize open to international female scientists from the fields of life sciences, physical and medical sciences, as well as computer sciences. This year’s winner specialize in hair research or related fields, such as textile and wool fiber research, the analysis of biological surfaces or the interaction of substances with hair or scalp. The winners are thus carrying on the tradition of the laboratories initiated by Martha Schwarzkopf, which were already researching human hair in the 20th century.

In recognition of their scientific achievements, the winners receive a prize money as well as the opportunity to be mentored by Henkel experts to further advance their research. All applications were reviewed under scientific aspects by an expert jury of scientists from Henkel Consumer Brands R&D. The winners were announced during an award ceremony in Düsseldorf on November 21. “We are very pleased that we have received so many qualified applications and were able to once more honor three female researchers. We are particularly pleased that we were able to fulfill our ambition of making the award even more international this year,” says Andrea Sättler, Corporate Director R&D at Henkel Consumer Brands and Chair of the Martha Schwarzkopf Award expert jury.

About the winners

This year's winners convinced the expert jury with their innovative strength, their pioneering spirit and the high relevance of their research. Andrea Sättler emphasizes that the diversity of hair research is perfectly represented by the applications and the winners' different life paths, experiences, and research directions.

This year's first place went to Dr. Claire Higgins from Imperial College in London, who receives a prize money of 10,000 euros. She is the president of the European Hair Research Society and has been focusing her research on human hair follicles and their skin environment for over 20 years. She is internationally recognized for her work on hair ageing. For the future, she hopes that scientific work like hers will contribute to effective technologies and patented products that can help people suffering from hair ageing.

The prize money of 5,000 euros for the second place went to Prof. Dr. Yan Zhang from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. As a member of various Chinese and Asian scientific societies, Prof. Dr. Zhang can already look back on a career spanning more than 30 years, in which she has focused on glycobiological relationships in medicine and immunology. She was the first to systematically illustrate the connection between the physiological conditions of the host, the demographics, the microbiota of the commensals and the formation of dandruff.

The award for the most promising “emerging talent” is also endowed with 5,000 euros and went to Dr. Yan Huang from the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai, New York. In her dissertation, which she completed at the beginning of this year at the Fudan University in Shanghai, Dr. Huang deals with the pathogenesis and treatment of androgenetic alopecia areata. Her goal is to translate her research findings into clinical applications to help patients.

For the second time, Henkel has awarded the "Martha Schwarzkopf Award for Women in Science" to promote and honor outstanding female scientists in the field of hair research.

Dr. Claire Higgins (right) achieved first place and Prof. Dr. Yan Zhang (left) second place at this year's Martha Schwarzkopf Award.

Dr. Yan Huang has received the "Emerging Talent Award".