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Published: 2022-12-07

Young Umeå researchers selected to participate in Nobel Week

NEWS Master's student Noelia Ares and doctoral student Saloni Kwatra from Umeå are two of 25 internationally selected young researchers participating in Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar during the Nobel Week. “It’s an honour. I’m really grateful for the nomination and it’s also a motivation to keep pursuing research," says Noelia Ares.

Text: Johanna Fredriksson

Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar, SIYSS, is organised annually by the Swedish Federation of Young Scientists during the Nobel Week. It is an event that includes research presentations, roundtables and a cultural and scientific programme elements, including several Nobel events. 25 participants between the ages of 18 and 25 have been invited and selected among top-ranked universities, based on extraordinary research efforts, according to SIYSS, as well as from scientific competitions. This year, young researchers are participating from Cambridge University, the University of Melbourne and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Some have been selected from competitions for young scientists, such as the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF, USA) and the EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUYCS). 

Want to contribute to safety

Among those invited are also two participants from Umeå University.  
One of them is 25-year-old Saloni Kwatra. She is a doctoral student in the NAUSICA research group at the Department of Computing Science. She conducts research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and security. In brief, her research project revolves around privacy-preserving machine learning techniques, mainly when the data is distributed across multiple devices. 
“The 2019 Gartner* Security and Risk Survey results show that more than 40 percent of privacy compliance technology will rely on AI by 2023.  Therefore, I want to contribute by providing ways to protect users' sensitive data,” she says. 

The other participant from Umeå is 21-year-old master's student Noelia Ares.  
“My research is focused on glioblastoma, the most aggressive and common type of brain cancer for which, unfortunately, treatments have not improved in recent years,” she says. 
Her research was carried out in Silvia Remeseiro’s group at Umeå Centre for Molecular Medicine (UCMM) and Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine (WCMM). They are using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool for which Emmanuelle Charpentier was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020, after the discovery at Umeå University.  
“We hope that the project, together with future studies, will help researchers gain a broader understanding of gene regulation in brain cancer,” says Noelia Ares. 

Lectures for young students

On 9 December, participants will give presentations of their research to upper-secondary students. The aim is to open the door to science and inspire young people to take an interest in research. Noelia Ares herself was very young when her interest in science was awakened.

“I’ve always been interested in understanding why the human body works the way it does and how and why it sometimes doesn’t – sometimes leading to disease," she says.  

When she was 16 years old, she had the chance to participate in a programme where upper-secondary students got to spend some of their summer in a laboratory at a Spanish university, to be introduced to research.

"This experience was really motivating, and it is one of the reasons why I believe initiatives like SIYSS really have the power of encouraging teenagers to pursue science,”, she says. 

Life is unimaginable without science.

It was during the school-age years that Saloni Kwatra took an interest in science. During SIYSS, she hopes to convey an almost childlike enthusiasm for science to the young people she meets.   
“Life is unimaginable without science, as it is in our daily lives. Science has been a blessing to mankind and has enhanced our standard of living,” she says.  

The two young people from Umeå University belong to the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Science and Technology. Sara Sjöstedt de Luna, Deputy Dean for one of them, believes that SIYSS will make an important mark on the young researchers' future careers.  

"It's great that Umeå University was invited to this. It's something completely unique that few people get the chance to be a part of. I think it will provide great inspiration for their continued scientific work, their commitment to taking on societal challenges, provide many new contacts and be a memory for life,” she says. 

*Gartner is an international world-leading consulting company in information technology research and consulting. 

Interested in the lecture for upper-secondary students?

On 9 December, you can listen to the research presentations online with an opportunity to ask questions.

More information, registration and work material for upper-secondary students can be found on Unga forskares website. 

The roundtable will be broadcast on 15 February 2023.