Graphics of four women with the words 'InspireInclusion International Women's Day'

Remarkable women changing lives in the north-east and beyond celebrated at International Women’s Day

The remarkable work of a female professor leading research into diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes will be celebrated as part of International Women’s Day.

The University of Aberdeen’s Professor Mirela Delibegovic is hosting an event dedicated to female boundary breakers ranging from a consultant gynaecologist and surgeon who leads a team providing care services for endometriosis patients in North and North East of Scotland to an engineer turned entrepreneur and a student charity worker helping those displaced by conflict.

The Connect and Celebrate Inclusion: Breaking Boundaries event, organised by the University, will take place on March 7 at Union Kirk, Union Street.

It provides an opportunity to hear from inspiring women working in the region who will discuss their own careers journeys, motivations and challenges and will be followed by networking with canapes and cocktails.

Professor Delibegovic is leading research at the University of Aberdeen which could provide the key to unlock early intervention and diagnosis in diabetes treatment.

She heads up the Aberdeen Cardiovascular and Diabetes Centre exploring how diabetes, heart disease, ageing and Alzheimer’s are woven together.

Her initial research focus on signals linked to type 2 diabetes has grown to encompass work on artery-blocking plaques made of fat, the impact of body-wide inflammation and wound healing.

She says that over the course of her 25-year research career, the focus on how these conditions affect women has shifted, but there is still much work to be done.

“In the past many studies and research areas were done only with male mice and men in clinical trials. Now it is recognised it is crucially important to study both, but there is still much more that we have to learn,” she added.

“When I first came to Aberdeen one of my initial research projects was to try and understand diabetes and obesity across both sexes. We know that diabetes affects each sex differently and can lead to serious life-altering health complications.

“Women with diabetes for example often face more serious complications such as heart disease and a greater risk of death.

“The work being pioneered in our Aberdeen laboratory could play an important role in teasing apart how the signals of diabetes, heart disease and ageing are woven together and how ageing and sex can affect these.”

Professor Delibegovic will welcome other pioneering women to talk about their own work and lives including Dr Lucky Saraswat who has worked as a Consultant Gynaecologist and Minimal access surgeon in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary since 2014. Her clinical interests include endometriosis and pelvic pain, menstrual problems, pelvic floor dysfunction and all general gynaecological problems in premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

Caroline Laurenson will tell her story of how she transitioned from chemical engineering, where she competed as a female in a male dominated environment, to become an entrepreneur in a whole new industry. After a STEM leadership course encouraged her to think about her talents, she took a career break and founded TL Smart – a company using smart technology to make a difference in people’s lives, especially those who are elderly or living alone.

Hossa Skandary-Macpherson was a child in Kabul when the Afghan conflict forced her family to flee in the 1990s. Now settled in Scotland after time spent in India, Russia, Belgium, the USA, and the UAE and a University student studying International Relations and French, she uses her varied experiences and language skills to support others fleeing conflict as a charity volunteer and trustee of Aberdeen Multicultural Centre.

Top left Dr Lucky Saraswat, bottom left Hossa Skandary-Macpherson  and right Caroline Laurenson

Top left Dr Lucky Saraswat, bottom left Hossa Skandary-Macpherson and right Caroline Laurenson

Top left Dr Lucky Saraswat, bottom left Hossa Skandary-Macpherson and right Caroline Laurenson

To learn more about the event and to book visit

In addition to the Connect and Celebrate event the University will also host a celebration of the sixth anniversary of the Aberdeen Centre for Women’s Health Research on March 5, a Research Showcase on March 6, and a look at 18th century ‘glow ups’ on March 14 as part of the wider International Women’s Day programme.

For full details visit

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