Suffrage Science Award given to neuroscientist Azahara Oliva

Azahara Oliva, assistant professor of neurobiology and behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded the international Suffrage Science Award for Life Sciences in 2024. Launched on the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, the award aims to “create a self-perpetuating cohort of talent that can encourage others to enter science and reach senior leadership roles,” said the prize committee.

The award is given in three categories: life sciences, engineering and physical sciences, and mathematics and computing. The nine winners were honored at an event on March 7 at the University of Oxford and were awarded heirloom jewelery pieces incorporating the traditional suffragette colours of green, violet and white. The pieces, designed by students at art and design college Central Saint Martins-UAL and crafted by master jeweler Martin Baker, are given to the awardees to keep and wear for two years.

“Generating new knowledge brings special joy to all scientists, but the road is not as easy for everyone,” said Oliva. “I’m now ready to lift others so they don’t get distracted with so much noise around and can focus on the joy. Our society cannot afford to lose any single one of the next generation of women in STEM, it is just so much talent. I am honored to be part of the Suffrage Network towards this goal.”

Oliva majored in physics at the Complutense University of Madrid, where she also received a Masters in Biomedical Physics and Neuroscience. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Szeged, Hungary and did postdoctoral research at Columbia University and New York University), where she developed new experimental methods to detect (and manipulate) memory processes online and test how our current theory of memory -- from a system neuroscience perspective -- supports abstract knowledge. The main focus of her current research is to understand how global brain states modulate local network activity during learning, memory and sleep.

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		Azahara Oliva with long brown hair, a smile, and piercings on her nose and below her lip.