According to the United Nations 2019 Fact Sheet, only 29.3% of the world’s R and D employees are female, out of which Central Asia has the highest percentage of female researchers (48.2%). Despite the meagre number of women in the field, it is still astonishing that a lot of them do not receive the recognition they deserve. Most of them are eliminated from the list of authors when papers are published and names of male colleagues are instead highlighted. They have been doing impactful work and it should be brought to the spotlight to inspire young girls who want to join a career in STEM.
We have compiled a list of women researchers who have recently done phenomenal work for different scientific fields and are making great contributions to humanity.
1. JoAnn E. Manson (Harvard Medical School)
She is known for her pioneering work in internal medicine, epidemiology and women’s health. One of the most highly cited researchers online, she has contributed to finding out the causes of diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and breast cancer. She has written several books for women’s health and co-authored more than 600 peer-reviewed articles. She has participated in various cohort studies to fight and detect breast cancer. Professor JoAnn Elisabeth Manson is a prominent advocate of women’s health.
2. Özlem Türeci
Özlem Türeci is the founder of the company, BioNTech which is a biotechnology company that created the first approved RNA-based vaccine against COVID-19 which became a highlight of 2020. More than half of the employees at her company are women. She believes researchers should think broadly and dream big to resolve problems.
3. Virginia M.-Y. Lee (University of Pennsylvania)
Virginia M. -Y. Lee, Chinese-born American neuropathologist, has conducted research on degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease to provide useful insights. She has discovered the role of specific proteins (tau, alpha-synuclein and TDP-43) in neurodegeneration. This research has opened up doors to new medicines for the treatment of these illnesses. In 2020, she was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for discovering the underlying cause of Parkinson’s disease and Multiple System Atrophy.
4. Gail Hanson (University of California Riverside)
If you’re a girl who grew up with a curiosity about how the universe works and looked up to physicists like Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson, you must have wondered if there was a female physicist whose work you wanted to explore. Professor Gail Hanson is one such woman who is doing groundbreaking work in the field of particle physics. She got her undergraduate degree in BS Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has risen to the post of Professor of Physics at Indiana University. She was awarded the American Physical Society’s W. K. H. Panofsky Prize for her contribution to the discoveries of the J/ψ particle and the τ lepton and independently discovered quark jets in 1975. She now works at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN and is working on development of a future μ+μ− collider.
5. Ramida “Jennie” Juengpaisal
Jennie is the woman behind the GPS Covid tracker by 5Lab which is a bioinformatics app that provides GPS data on infected cases, suspicious cases, death cases and confirmed negative cases. As misinformation started to spread, Jennie created this app to compile authentic data about infected places and people so that healthcare and government professionals can take the required measures. She is pushing the boundaries of gender gender biases in STEM fields in Thailand and all over the world.
6. Terrie E. Moffitt (Duke University)
Professor Terrie teaches psychology and neuroscience, and psychiatry and behavioural science, at Duke University and at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London. She is known for her phenomenal work delinquency and neuropsychological development which provided insights into genetic and environmental risks that cause abnormal human behaviours and psychiatric disorders. She is involved in the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study which explores and follows twins born in 1994-1995 to see how environmental factors contribute to disruptive behaviour in children. Her approach will help children’s mental health and prevent the emergence of serious antisocial disorders in adolescents.
It is extremely important to recognize the work of women in research because it inspires young girls to follow their dreams and apply their skills when opportunities are given to them. These important truths that they are unearthing in order to contribute to society should not stay veiled.
If any of these research areas piqued your interest, explore research courses here.