5 Female Trailblazers in Science Today
“You don’t look like a scientist.”
Sarah Richardson, a young scientist in synthetic biology, told U.S. News that people often told her this. The former post-doctoral fellow at the University of California-Berkeley was a woman and light-skinned African American.
In honor of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, here are just a few female scientists pioneering their fields.
1. Holley Moyes
Archaeologist Holley Moyes has spent nearly two decades combing through more than 100 caves in Belize for Mayan artifacts.
Threatened by vandalism and looting, caves remain sacred cultural sites that Moyes helps preserve. Modern-day Mayans still use the spaces for rituals today.
2. Nelly Mugo
When someone has HIV, the strong defense against spreading it to their partner is to use a condom or other protection. But for heterosexual couples who want to have biological children, a new drug may help them conceive with less risk.
This past year, Kenyan obstetrician, gynecologist and research scientist Kelly Mugo spearheaded tests on PrEP, a life-saving drug to combat HIV. The World Health Organization declared the trial a success, recommending HIV-positive families incorporate it into their prevention regimen.
Mugo is a global leader in HIV prevention and reproductive health.
3. Jennifer Doudna
Five years ago, biochemist Jennifer Doudna co-invented technology that may cure cancer someday.
The groundbreaking gene-editor CRISPR allows scientists to alter genes easier than ever before. Not only may this tool cure disease, but it can also open the door to changing human embryos, which raises a number of ethical issues.
Doudna calls for fellow scientists to stay cognizant of unintended consequences.
4. Jennifer Eberhardt
Black Lives Matter thrust racial injustice in policing to the front of discussion.
Therefore, Stanford University social psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt‘s work is more current than ever. She studies how people profile each other based on race and works with the justice system to cut down on implicit bias associating blackness with criminality.
Eberhardt won the MacArthur Foundation‘s “genius” fellowship in 2014.
5. Antarctica Climate Researchers
Nearly 80 women recently returned home from the first all-women expedition to Antarctica to study climate change.
Their journey also aimed to raise awareness about lack of women in science. Hopefully, their efforts will pave the way for future diversity in research.
Canadian biologist Shelley Ball is at least one who’s planning a return trip.
“I left a piece of my heart in Antarctica,” Ball tells CBC News. “You can’t go to that landscape and not have it affect you.”
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