Dear Colleagues, 

I am pleased to include another issue of RFS Briefings with some timely and encouraging updates on women in science.

  • In case you missed our GEN/RFS Women in Science webinar, you can watch it here! Dr. Amy Abernethy, President of Verily' s clinical research business, provided a view into their expansion into a full-scale clinical evidence generation platform. Her focus will continue to be making it easier and faster to run clinical studies with the goal of using clinical data to accelerate clinical trials. She noted that "the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of improving the clinical trials process, breaking down barriers to participation and speeding access to medicines."

  • The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) has named Sharon Terry, MA as the 2021 recipient of the Advocacy Award. Terry is president and CEO of the Genetic Alliance, an organization engaging individuals, families, and communities to transform health. She was a past speaker at an RFS Board Meeting. Read more.

  • Congratulations to the first recipient of the Sharon Begley-STAT Science Reporting Fellowship, Isabella Cueto, a Cuban American journalist. Read more.

See below for more news about women in science

Please continue to share important news and opportunities with us so that we may share it with you, and others who are committed to supporting the careers of exceptional women in science. 

Stay safe and sound

Karla Shepard Rubinger
Executive Director
Rosalind Franklin Society


The Rita Allen Foundation has named its 2021 class of Rita Allen Foundation Scholars. Congratulations to Ellen Foxman, an RFS Award winner who spoke at our 2019 Colloquium at the Wistar Institute! Read more.

Applications are open through December 1, 2021 for the next round of the Hanna Gray Fellows Program.
The goal of the program is to recruit and retain individuals from gender, racial, ethnic, and other groups underrepresented in the life sciences, including those individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Read more.

Apply now for The Michelson Philanthropies & Science Prize for Immunology.
The prize focuses on transformative research in human immunology, with trans-disease applications to accelerate vaccine and immunotherapeutic discovery.
Read more. 

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has selected the 2021 class of Gilliam adviser-student pairs as part of a program to advance diversity and inclusion in science. They represent the largest group of fellows selected in the Gilliam Program’s history. Read more. 

NIH has awarded $50,000 each to 10 institutions for their efforts in enhancing faculty gender diversity.
On October 5, the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health will host a forum, Effective Approaches to Fostering Faculty Gender Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Celebrating Progress, to formally recognize and promote the winners’ effective, evidence-based practices, address challenges, and improve the existing career paradigm for many women in biomedical and behavioral science. Read more.

Meet the 50 women over 50 shaping the future of science, tech and art. 
Forbes and Know Your Value released the list on Thursday as part of its “50 Over 50” series, which is dedicated to highlight women over the age of 50 who have achieved significant success later in life, often overcoming formidable odds or barriers. Read more. 

Mattel's Barbie turns women of science, including COVID vaccine developer, into dolls.
British vaccinologist Sarah Gilbert is one of the six women Mattel Inc has recognized as role models in the fight against COVID-19. According to the toymaker, the five other honorees are U.S. health care workers Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz and emergency room nurse Amy O'Sullivan, Canadian doctor and advocate against systemic racism in health care Chicka Stacy Oriuwa, Brazilian biomedical researcher Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus and Australian doctor and protective gown developer Kirby White. Read more.

More women than ever are starting careers in science.
Women are more likely to start a research career now than they were 20 years ago, according to a study of the publishing records of millions of researchers around the world. But they are less likely to continue their academic careers than are their male contemporaries, and in general publish fewer papers, writes Katharine Sanderson in an article for Nature. Read more.

Microbiologist Elisabeth Bik queried Covid research – that’s when the abuse and trolling began.
When Dr. Elisabeth Bik raised serious concerns about the methodology of a paper that claimed hydroxychloroquine was effective in treating Covid-19, the online trolling was relentless, writes Melissa Davey in an article for The Guardian. Dr. Bik says she became much more careful about posting personal information after attacks began, but was determined not to be intimidated. Read more.

Are women climate scientists judged for speaking out? Not so much, research suggests.
In a new study, Lauren Armstrong and George Adamson were the first to examine how climate scientists are perceived by other scientists when speaking in favor of particular policies in the media. What they found suggests women scientists may have less to fear from their peers than they might think. Read more.

Twist Bioscience ‘writes’ DNA on silicon chips, which can be used to fight COVID-19, develop precision medicines, and store your favorite Netflix show.
On this week’s Most Innovative Companies podcast, Twist Bioscience co-founder and CEO Emily Leproust talks about how her company is empowering the entire ecosystem of synthetic biology, which is booming. Last year, investors poured nearly $8 billion into related companies. Read more. Dr. Leproust was a recent speaker at the RFS Colloquium. You can see her presentation here.

She has stem cells in her crosshairs.
Agnieszka Czechowicz is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. In her lab research, her medical practice, and her work as an entrepreneur, she focuses on people who suffer from severe diseases like bone marrow failure or acute myeloid leukemia, who can’t produce blood or immune cells the way they are supposed to. Read more.

New survey shows Los Angeles VCs outpacing national funding for women, POC-led businesses.
PledgeLA, a coalition of hundreds of venture capital and tech leaders working to increase equity and accountability around corporate diversity efforts, released the results of its diversity, equity, and inclusion survey. Read more.

Women participate less at conferences, even if gender-balanced.
If women are not visible at conferences, they cannot act as role models for junior academics, creating a self-perpetuating cycle. A new study suggests that increasing the number or visibility of female chairs increases the number of questions from women. Read more. 

Marianna Limas, Social Media Manager
Nilda Rivera, Partnership and Events Manager