To mark International Women’s Day at Edinburgh Innovations we are celebrating enterprising women it is our privilege to work with.

From entrepreneurs who have formed startup companies to researchers who solve challenges for industry and policy makers, we have supported a wide range of people, projects and commercial success stories that turn University of Edinburgh talent into impact for society.

Here we present a selection of the women whose work is having a direct impact on people’s lives across a range of fields.

Inventors and company creators

Dr Liita Iyaloo Cairney is enabling girls in Africa to attend school with dignity, through her company Kalitasha and its first product, the Koree, a reusable feminine hygiene product. Kalitasha recently secured its first sales, to a charity that will trial Koree in Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana and Zambia. Supported by LAUNCH.ed while a PhD student, Dr Cairney is an inspiring, visionary public speaker as well as an entrepreneur.

Dr Fiona Denison is the creator of the multi-award-winning Birthing Mirror, an adjustable, illuminated, submersible mirror to help midwives and birthing mums to view the birth process more easily. Dr Denison is a Senior Lecturer and Honorary NHS Consultant in Maternal and Fetal Medicine.

Dr Lissa Herron is pioneering the use of hens’ eggs as bioreactors to create proteins that have a variety of medical therapeutic and research applications. Dr Herron is a Royal Society of Edinburgh/BBSRC Enterprise Fellow at the Roslin Institute, and founder of Eggcellent Proteins.

Meeting industry challenges

Dr Louise Horsfall is working with the global drinks company Diageo to produce recoverable copper nanoparticles from distillery by-products using bacteria. Professor Horsfall is Co-chair of the Bioengineering and Bioprocessing Section of the European Federation of Biotechnology and holds an EPSRC five-year Early Career Fellowship in Engineering for Sustainability and Resilience.

Dr Tiffany Wood is working with Mentholatum, manufacture of Deep Heat, in a collaboration supported by a Royal Society Fellowship. She has worked with more than 20 companies from agrochemicals to pharmaceuticals and food to find innovative solutions to commercial challenges. She is Director of the Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership.

Professor Susan Rosser is working with Unilever and the John Innes Centre to produce plant-derived saponins – the active ingredient in soaps and detergents. Professor Rosser is Director of the Edinburgh Mammalian Synthetic Biology Research Centre and Co-director of the Edinburgh Genome Foundry. She holds an EPSRC Leadership Fellowship in Synthetic Biology.

Influencing policy and practice

Dr Gitit Kadar-Satat is working with Fathers Network Scotland to make primary schools in East Lothian more dad-friendly, with a view to expanding the work to a wider geographical area and into other family services.

Professor Antonella Sorace is founder and Director of Bilingualism Matters, a service offering information to parents and teachers on language research and language learning. Bilingualism Matters, which was launched in 2008, now has 18 branches across Europe and the US.

Photographs: top row from left: Dr Liita Iyaloo Cairney, Dr Fiona Denison, Dr Lissa Herron, Dr Louise Horsfall; bottom row from left: Dr Tiffany Wood, Professor Susan Rossser, Dr Gitit Kadar-Satat, Professor Antonella Sorace.

Related links


Dr Fiona Denison research profile

Dr Lissa Herron research profile

Dr Louise Horsfall research profile

Dr Tiffany Wood research profile

Professor Susan Rosser research profile

Dr Gitit Kadar-Satat research profile

Bilingualism Matters

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day annual lecture