Women in Biology
Here is a link to an interesting article regarding Women Scientists Who Were Overlooked Due to Sexism
Women in Science
Interesting papers on the gender bias in science
Rachel Carson an American marine biologist and a science writer is best known for her book "Silent Spring" where she explored the long term effects of synthetic pesticides. She Carson initially started working as a biologist with the U.S Bureau of Fisheries and later on became a known figure and researcher in that field.
Estella Eleanor Carothers (1883-1957)
Carothers an American biologist was born in 1883 and is known for
demonstration of an independent chromosome assortment. Working mostly
on grasshopper cytology and physiology, she taught at the University
of Pennsylvania from 1913-1933, and then continued her groundbreaking
genetics research at the University of Iowa.
Lynn Margulis (1938-2011)
Lynn Margulis is an American biologist. She is best known for her work on the origin of the eukaryotic organelles which lead to the hypotheses that mitochondria and chloroplasts originated as intracellular bacteria. She is also known for her seminal contributions to the endosymbiotic theory and faced great controversy over her theories.
Barbara McClintock (1902 – 1992)
considered as the one of the greatest biologists of the twentieth
century. Her research focused on color mosaicism in maize during the
1940s. She is responsible for producing the first genetic map for
maize. She also discovered the transposons, mobile genetic elements
that tend to move between locations in the genome, for which she was
awarded the Nobel Prize in 1983. She was also responsible for
demonstration of different basic genetic phenomena including meiotic
crossing over and elaborated on the roles of centromeres and
Christiane Nusslein Volhard (1942 - )
Nusslein Volhard worked on
identifying and characterizing genetic control in the model organism
Drosophila melanogaster (common fruit fly). Her discovery of many
transcription factors, including those including the homeobox
proteins, was pivotal in understanding the molecular mechanisms
underlying embryonic development and continues to have applications
far outside the fruit fly. She was awarded the Albert Lasker Award
for Basic Medical Research in 1991 and the Nobel Prize in Physiology
or Medicine in 1995.
Charlotte Auerbach (1899 – 1994)
Auerbach, a German zoologist and geneticist, attained recognition
when she discovered the mutations that mustard gas could cause in
fruit flies. Her approach was biological rather than chemical in
that, while she acknowledged that mutation took place in the
chemistry of the gene, she adhered to the idea that it was the
biological interaction that gave the process its complexity. Her work
formed the basis for the science of mutagenesis.
She was awarded the Royal Society Darwin Medal in 1977 and she also
wrote a book of fairy stories under the pen name of Charlotte Austen.
Elizabeth (Liz) Helen Blackburn (1948 - )
Elizabeth Blackburn is a biologist at the University of California. She is known for her study of the telomere which is a structure at the end of a chromosome that is responsible for protecting the chromosome. Blackburn also discovered telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes the ends of chromosomes, a discovery for which she received a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009.
Linda B Buck (1947 - )
Buck is an American biologist and is best known for her work on the
how pheromones and odors are detected in the nose and interpreted in
the brain. She was the recipient for the Nobel Prize in Medicine for
her work on the olfactory
receptors. She was inducted
into the National Academy of Sciences in 2004. Buck was elected a
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008.
Martha Cowles Chase (1927 –2003)
Martha was an
American geneticist who, in 1952 worked with Alfred Hershey to
conduct one of the most famous experiments in biology in the 20th
century. This experiment was conducted to demonstrate that DNA rather
than protein is the genetic material of life..
Rosalind Elsie Franklin (1920 - 1958)
Rosalind was a
biophysicist whom worked with the infamous Watson and Crick. She is
known for her important contributions to understanding the X-ray
molecular structure determination of DNA, coal, graphite and viruses.
Crick and Watson published their model in Nature
on 25 April 1953 in an article describing the double-helical
structure of DNA with only a footnote acknowledging "having been
stimulated by a general knowledge of" Franklin and Wilkin's
'unpublished' contribution. She was never formerly recognized for
work on DNA structure as she passed away in 1958 while Watson and
Crick collected the Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1962 (Nobels
are not awarded posthumously).
After her contribution to DNA work, Rosalind also worked on polio
and tobacco mosaic viruses.
Nettie Maria Stevens (1861 - 1912)
Nettie Stevens was born in 1861 and was one of the early American geneticists. She did not start her research until her thirties but completed her Ph.D. in 1903. She was among the first researchers who described the chromosomal basis of sex, first in insects and then in humans. One of her advisors, Thomas Hunt Morgan, claimed she was more of a technician than a true scientist in her obituary in Science. Her early discoveries laid the basis for the Morgan’s mapping the first gene locations onto chromosomes of fruit flies though it was Stevens who introduced fruit flies to Morgan’s lab. She passed away just prior to accepting a faculty position.
Ruth Turner was a marine biologist and was a renowned expert on teredos, bivalved mollusks called shipworms, that were responsible for destroying boats and docks and adversely affecting maritime shipping industry. In recognition of her accomplishments the U.S. Navy dedicated their book on "Biodegradation in the Sea" to Professor Turner. At the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, she became the first woman scientist to utilize the Deep Submergence Research Vehicle ALVIN to study the deep sea. She held the Alexander Agassiz Professorship at Harvard. She published more than 200 scientific articles and had an illustrious and successful career as a marine researcher.
Jane Goodall (1934 - )
Jane Goodall is best known for her studies of the chimpanzees at the Gombe Stream Game Reserve on Lake Tanzania. She discovered that they are omnivores and that they use tools. She became a passionate advocate of animal rights and has become the global leader of efforts to protect wild apes and their habitats. Her unconventional practices, such as giving names to the chimpanzees she studied, have brought criticism from some scientists, some of whom resent her high media profile.
Dian Fossey (1932 - 1985)
Dian Fossey was originally an occupational therapist, until she met Louis Leakey. In 1966, through him, she began long-term research on mountain gorillas, first in Zaire and then in Rwanda. She strongly supported active conservation through anti-poaching patrols and preservation of natural habitat. She was brutally murdered in the bedroom of her cabin in 1985, felled by a blow to the head from a poacher's weapon that she kept as a souvenir. The perpetrator has never been found but there is speculation that it was either poachers in a revenge killing or an effort to prevent her disrupting profitable plans for tourism.
Anne McLaren (1927-2007)
made fundamental advances in developmental genetics and lead the way
for the development of in vitro
fertilization. She also contributed to initial discussions on the
fraught ethical issues that surrounded IVF. As a researcher in London
she worked with mice, studying the effects of super ovulation on
fertility. She produced the first litter of mice grown from eggs that
had developed in tissue culture and then been transferred to a
surrogate mother, paving the way for embryo transfer in human IVF.
Her work also contributed towards the development of new
contraceptive methods for women. For
her contributions to science, we was made a
Fellow-Commoner of Christ's College, Cambridge
and an officer of the Royal
Beatrix Potter (1866-1943)
Beatrix Potter, best known for her Peter Rabbit series of children’s books, was interested in nature but was rejected as a student at the Royal Botanical Gardens because she was a woman. However, she observed and drew numerous species, particularly fungi, and was first people to hypothesize that lichens were actually a symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae. She recorded her observations in exquisite paintings and became respectfully reputed as a mycologist. Her work on the germination of spores was rejected to the Linnaen Society and The Royal Society primarily due to her gender.
Virginia Apgar (1909 - 1974)
Known for: Virginia Apgar developed the Apgar Newborn Scoring System, increasing infant survival rates She was pioneer in anesthesiology including helping to raise the respect for the discipline; she warned that use of some anesthetics during childbirth negatively affected infants. Virginia Apgar also helped refocus the March of Dimes organization from polio to birth defects.
Gertrude Bell Elion (1918 - 1999)
Known for: Gertrude Elion is known for discovering many medications, including medications for HIV/AIDS, herpes, immunity disorders, and leukemia. She and her colleague George H. Hitchings were awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 1988.
Wangari Maathai (1940 – 2011)
Wangari Maathai is the founder of the Green Belt movement in Kenya which works to empower communities, particularly women, to conserve the environment and improve the lifestyles. She was the first woman in central/ eastern Africa to earn her Ph.D., and the first female university department head in Kenya. Her efforts led to a Nobel Peace Prize.
Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978)
Margaret Mead, a curator of ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History from 1928 to her retirement in 1969, is an influential anthropologist who published her famous Coming of Age in Samoa in 1928. The book, which claimed that girls and boys in the Samoan culture were both taught to and allowed to value their sexuality, was something of a sensation.
Antonia Novello (1944 - )
As the successor to C. Everett Koop as, Antonia Novello was the first Hispanic and the first woman to be United States Surgeon General. Her career as a physician and medical professor focused on pediatrics and children’s health.
Florence Sabin (1871 - 1953)
Florence Sabin has been called the "first lady of American science". She studied the lymphatic and immune systems. She was the first female full professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She was an advocate for women's rights and higher education.
Margaret Sanger (1879 - 1966)
Margaret Sanger was a nurse who promoted birth control as a means by which a woman could control her reproductive destiny. She opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, and established Planned Parenthood, a reproductive planning clinic.
Helen Brooke Taussig (1898 – 1986)
Helen Taussig was a cardiologist who was the first specialist in pediatric cardiology. She discovered the cause of Tetrology of Fallot (also known as called "blue babies") and developed with colleagues a medical shunt, the Blalock-Taussig shunt, to correct the condition. In 1964, Dr. Taussig received the Medal of Freedom from then President Lyndon Johnson, and in 1965 she was crowned the first female president of the American Heart Association.
Lydia Villa-Komaroff (1947 - )
Lydia Villa-Komaroff is known as a pioneer in the field of molecular cloning and DNA manipulation. Her work as a molecular biologist contributed to developing insulin from bacteria. She was only the third Mexican American to be awarded a science Ph.D. and has won many awards and recognition for her achievements.
Rosalyn Yalow (1921 - )
Known for: Rosalyn Yalow developed a technique called radioimmunoassay (RIA) which allows researchers and technicians to measure biological substances. She shared the 1977 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with her co-workers on this discovery.
Mary Anning (1799 – 1847)
As an 11 year old child, Mary Anning was the first to excavate and describe a fossil of Ichthyosaurus, a large crocodile-type dinosaur. In addition, she found long-necked plesiosaurs, a pterodactyl, and hundreds of other fossils which helped our understanding of the marine world during the Jurassic Period. Anning became a world-renown leader in paleontology, despite her lack of education.
How do we do this????
<<Please let me know if you think of more>>
Get and provide good support to fellow scientists – read other women’s manuscripts and grants proposals, invite women to speak at your institution,
Make opportunities for women scientists, whether through mentoring or encouraging collaborations
“Women's Share of NIH Grants Drops With Age” by Jocelyn Kaiser on 29 April 2011
Get involved early – start in elementary schools and high schools getting kids excited about science
Be respectful to all scientists
<<Please let me know if you find more that should be included in this list>>
- Association for Women in Science
- Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
USA Fellowships for Women
Program / http://www.loreal.com/DD/loreal/Foundation/Article.aspx?topcode=Foundation_AccessibleScience_WomenExcellence
- Graduate Women in Science
University of Louisville Women's