By Evangelia Rakou Stage 2 Biomedical Sciences Student
Who is Henrietta Lacks?
It might come as a surprise to you that one of the people who changed the course of medical research was not even a scientist herself. Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman and mother of five who died from cervical cancer in 1951.
After complaining of vaginal bleeding, she was diagnosed with the disease and sadly passed away several months after her diagnosis. However, her cells continue to impact the world and revolutionise modern medicine years after her death.
By Luisa Roa Gil 3rd year Physiological Sciences student
You might expect to instantly recognise the name of someone that contributed to the discovery of DNA structure, revealed the cause of high blood pressure, and became the first African-American woman to obtain a chemistry PhD, right?
However, you may be shocked by how many do not know the story of Dr Marie Maynard Daly – a woman who made multiple advances in science and opened doors for young scientists.
We recently asked our students to submit entries detailing the work of inspirational female scientists as part of a blog competition for International Women’s Day. We are delighted to share all of the entries below – choosing the top two was not an easy decision, so congratulations to all writers!
Ada Lovelace – by Olivia Rowe, 3rd year MSci Biochemistry (1st prize)
What does it mean to be a woman?
For centuries, women have been objectified and designated ‘The Second Sex’. Lord Byron’s 19th century poem ‘She Walks In Beauty’ is a prime example, where he describes his female subject to be as provocative as ‘starry skies’ on a clear night.
In October, as part of Black History Month in the UK, we ran a competition asking students to submit blog posts showcasing the contribution of scientists of African and Caribbean descent to the scientific world. In the run-up to February’s Black History Month in North America, we are delighted to share the winning blog by Cerys Francis-Garside, Stage 1 Master of Dietetics student.
Mary Seacole: A Scientist by Nature
Perhaps on first hearing her name, you would not choose to label her a scientist. Perhaps you might think “Oh I’ve heard of her… who is she again?”. To me, the story of Mary Seacole is one of the most important in science as it is one we can continue to learn from again and again.
Women make, and have made, vital contributions to science. This is a statement that should not need to be said, but too often women have not received the credit they deserve.
This year to highlight the achievements of Women in Science we ran a blog competition in the School of Biomedical Sciences. The challenge was to write a blog to highlight the contribution women have made to science.
The 2019 winner was Lilla Marshall (2nd year pharmacology), receiving £50. The close runner up was Caitlin Cosimini (Stage 3 Biomedical Sciences), congratulation to both, here is Lillia’s blog.
Three Interesting Tales of Women in Science
By Lilla Marshall
Historically, science has been dominated by men. Since the year 2000, only 12.7% of Nobel Prizes for Physiology and Medicine have been awarded to women.
I wasn’t the best in my stats module last semester, but even I can see the problem there. Even in popular culture, if you asked the general public to name as many female scientists as they could – the majority would say Marie Curie and “that lady who had her work on DNA stolen” (meaning Rosalind Franklin).