Imperial researcher honoured at Asian Women of Achievement Awards

An Imperial researcher has been honoured at an award ceremony to celebrate the contributions of Asian women based in the UK.

Dr Pavani Cherukupally, from Imperial’s Department of Chemical Engineering, received an Asian Women of Achievement award in the science category earlier this month for her work in surface science.

The awards, which were founded by author and entrepreneur Pinky Lilani CBE DL in 1999, aim to celebrate the contributions of Asian women across industries in the UK, including business, science and technology, and culture.

“The judges and I were so impressed with Pavani’s research and her remarkable, emotional journey…” Pinky Lilani CBE DL Chairman of the Asian Women of Achievement Awards

Dr Cherukupally’s work focuses on the interactions between solid-liquid-gaseous systems and using research to produce affordable materials and processes to address global environmental and public health challenges.

Her recent research has included developing a scalable and low-cost material that can remove pathogenic bacteria from wastewater, presenting opportunities to make water safe and prevent the spread of water-borne infectious diseases.

Ms Lilani, Chairman of the Asian Women of Achievement Awards, said: “The judges and I were so impressed with Pavani’s research and her remarkable, emotional journey, which coupled with her will to give back and be a role model, made her very well deserving of the Asian Women of Achievement Science Award.

“I am confident that she will use the Award to take her work to new heights and to inspire others along the way.”

Earlier this year, Dr Cherukupally was highly commended for the Sir William Wakeham Award 2022 at Imperial, where she received recognition for a paper on a wax-wetting sponge that is designed to recover oil droplets from water.

She has also received a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship that recognises elite postdoctoral scholars across physical, life, and social sciences, and a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship which supports the most promising researchers in natural science and engineering.

The Imperial researcher has chaired and organised scientific symposiums on water, green chemistry, sustainable plastics and sustainable energy topics, and initiated the Career Development Seminar series in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

‘An emerging world-leader in surface science’

Commenting on her Asian Women of Achievement award, Dr Cherukupally said: “I am honoured to be recognised for my innovative work in addressing global water, environmental, and public health challenges. I feel very fortunate to be able to align my personal values with scientific innovation and to have access to the high-achieving Women of the Future Network.

“This network has already begun to play an instrumental role in bringing my inventions to the market and I look forward to paying forward by supporting other ambitious girls and women through the WOF network and educational events.”

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London, who nominated Dr Cherukupally for the award, added: “I am pleased that Dr Cherukupally’s excellent work has been recognised by the Asian Women of Achievement Awards. As an emerging world-leader in surface science, she embodies Imperial’s mission of pursuing research excellence for the benefit of society – helping to tackle the key environmental and public health challenges of our time. I hope that her success will inspire young women and girls to follow in her footsteps.”

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