UBC’s Dr. Carolina Tropini, Assistant Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, has been named 2020’s winner of the Johnson & Johnson Women in STEM2D Scholars Award in the field of Engineering. The award—$150,000USD in funding and three years of mentorship—honours women making key discoveries, spearheading innovation and shaping the future in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design. Only six winners were selected from a highly competitive field of more than 541 exceptionally qualified nominees from around the globe. Dr. Tropini is the first Canadian to win this award.
Please see the Johnson & Johnson press release issued on June 18 and the promotional video created by UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science. At UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dr. Tropini is leading cutting-edge research on how bacterial communities improve human health and quality of life. She utilizes an interdisciplinary approach—merging life sciences with engineering—studying microbiology to modify bacteria and microbial communities that can help treat inflammatory bowel disease and other autoimmune disorders—a key development in the future of health and medicine.
The Faculty of Applied Science and the School of Biomedical Engineering played a central role in supporting Dr. Tropini’s nomination, in highlighting how the next phase of human health and medicine will be increasingly dependent on engineers and how applied science researchers look at problems from all angles enabling transformational advances in medicine and healthcare that impact society at all levels.
As a first generation college graduate, Dr. Tropini “felt first-hand the privilege, as well as responsibility, of being the first generation that had the freedom to choose [her] path.” She received her undergraduate degree from UBC, and after pursuing graduate school at Stanford University in California, she returned to UBC to continue her career in academia.
“I am hopeful that this award can have an impact on my community locally, on the students I mentor and teach, and on the UBC community at a wider scale,” says Dr. Tropini. “It is impossible for me to represent the diversity and brilliance of women in engineering on a global scale, but I feel really honored, lucky and grateful for this opportunity, and the possibilities that come with it.”