Marie Heim-Vögtlin prize for outstanding young women researchers

Denise Mitrano wins the 2021 MHV Prize

Micro- and nanoparticles pose an increasing problem for the environment. For a long time, it was barely possible to track these particles, which are as small as a few millionths of a millimetre in size. Denise Mitrano, a geochemist at ETH Zurich, has now succeeded in doing this: she has developed a method to track micro- and nanoplastics in water, soil and even organisms.

This work was financed by an SNSF Ambizione grant. Since 2020, Denise Mitrano has been leading her own research group as an assistant professor at ETH Zurich with an Eccellenza Fellowship from the SNSF.

About the Marie Heim-Vögtlin Prize

The SNSF awards the Marie Heim-Vögtlin (MHV) Prize each year to an outstanding woman researcher. Prizewinners are inspiring role models whose careers progressed significantly thanks to a grant from the SNSF. The prize is worth 25,000 Swiss francs. For ten years, the prize was awarded to former recipients of the MHV funding scheme. Now that this scheme has been discontinued, the prize is being awarded to former female grantees of the MHV, Doc.CH, Postdoc.Mobility, Ambizione and PRIMA funding schemes.

Named after a pioneering woman

The MHV grant was named after Marie Heim-Vögtlin, who became the first Swiss woman to study medicine when she was admitted to the University of Zurich’s medical faculty in 1868. On completing her studies, she opened a gynaecological practice, where she continued practising after giving birth to two children. She is regarded as one of the pioneers in the struggle to give women access to higher education.