HU Hailan wins L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science


HU Hailan, professor at Zhejiang University School of Brain Science and Brain Medicine and director of the MOE Frontier Center of Brain Science and Brain-machine Integration, has been honored with the 2022 L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science International Award in recognition of “her major discoveries in neuroscience, in particular her work on depression, which has informed the development of next generation drugs for depression”.

Founded in 1998, the Award annually celebrates the scientific excellence of five eminent women scientists, each from a major region of the world. Prof. Hu is the 2022 laureate for Asia and the Pacific.

With the impactful research into how emotional and social behaviors are encoded in the brain over decades, Prof. Hu has led her team to make groundbreaking discoveries, including the rapid antidepressant mechanism of ketamine, the abnormal neural coding pattern and neuron-glia interaction underlying depression. Her research findings provide a new framework for developing new rapid-acting antidepressants. She’s also known for her pioneering work on neural mechanism of the dominance trait, based on the state-of-the-art methodologies, which she contributed to develop.

Hu’s impressive work was recognized with China's Top 10 Scientific Discoveries in 2018 and the IBRO-Kemali International Prize in 2019, which was awarded to a scientist outside of Europe and North America for the first time. Her many other accolades include the Ho Leung Ho Lee Award (2019), the C.C. Tan Life Science Award (2016, the highest award of life science in China), the Chinese Young Scientist Award (2016), the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science China (2015), and the Meiji Life Science Outstanding Award (2013).

Based on the conviction that “the world needs science, and that science needs women,” the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards has honored 122 laureates since its creation, inspiring more women to pursue scientific careers. Each year, the L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science programs also support more than 250 talented young women researchers. Through its 52 regional and national programs, UNESCO and the L'Oréal Foundation support them at a crucial period in their careers, during their thesis or post-doctoral studies.