Dear Colleagues, 

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

GEN, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, is celebrating an exciting anniversary this month; 40 years of bringing complete coverage of the biotech industry to its audience! In the October issue, they reflect upon the past and look at the potential future of the biotech industry. Publisher and CEO Mary Ann Liebert is pictured here with her issue. This depth of experience and leadership has also been central to her role as founder of the Rosalind Franklin Society. We benefit from this legacy and leadership every day!

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


Myriam Sarachik, physicist who plumbed magnetism, dies at 88. 

Myriam P. Sarachik, a scientist whose groundbreaking experiments illuminated subtle but fundamental physics in the electronic and magnetic behavior of materials, died on Oct. 7 in Manhattan, The New York Times reports. “In the 1960s, Dr. Sarachik entered and succeeded in a field, experimental physics, where women were a rarity. Even her mentors insisted that she might really have preferred being a housewife or a part-time teacher. But she persisted, becoming a professor in 1964 at the City College of New York.” Read more. (Image by Wikipedia)

2021 Women Advancing Thyroid Research Award.
RFS celebrates the recipients of the 2021 Women Advancing Thyroid Research Award! Congratulations Giulia Lanzolla, MD and Victoria Casado-Medrano, PhD! Read the full press release that includes their oral abstracts.

Nobel Prize winner Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna to receive top award from the Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation.

 “The New York Academy of Medicine is proud to partner with the Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation to honor Dr. Jennifer Doudna for her groundbreaking contributions to science and medicine through genome engineering, which has already shown enormous potential to improve disease treatment and health worldwide,” said Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS, NYAM President. “Through this partnership, we also celebrate and build upon the historical contributions of generations of women in medicine.” Read more. (Jennifer Doudna in 2021 by Christopher Michel via Wikipedia). Dr. Doudna was also a featured speaker last year for our GEN/RFS Women in Science Series. You can access the presentation here.


 Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey wins Gustav O. Lienhard Award for Advancement of Health Care from National Academy of Medicine.

 “Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey’s pioneering work has truly shifted the paradigm of health and health care access in the US, as she recognized that creating a healthier society requires looking upstream, beyond the traditional scope of medical care, to address social and economic factors influencing health,” said NAM President Victor J. Dzau in a press release. Read more. (Image by Penn LDI)

Apply for the new BII & Science prize for innovation today.
Behind every life-changing solution is an entrepreneurial scientist. A creative mind who proved an idea in the lab and dared to carry it out in the world. To encourage more scientists to translate their research, BioInnovation Institute (BII) & Science present a new annual award. Three winners will have their essays published in Science magazine and will be invited into BII’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. In addition, the Grand Prize winner will receive a prize of USD 25,000 and each runner-up will receive USD 10,000 at a grand award show celebration in Copenhagen, Denmark. Read more.

One reason men often sweep the Nobels: few women nominees.
Even after the recent increases, just 13% of the nominees for the physiology or medicine prize and 7% to 8% for the chemistry prize are women. “This has been the problem with many high-level and prestigious awards: If [women are] not in the pool, you can’t select them,” says Jo Handelsman, a molecular biologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who has studied gender bias in the scientific community. Read more.

Call for nominations: Use of race, ethnicity, and ancestry as population descriptors in genomics research.
An anticipated ad hoc committee under the auspices of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Health and Medicine Division will convene to review and assess the existing methodologies, benefits, and challenges in the use of race and ethnicity and other population descriptors in genomics research. The committee will produce a report that will describe best practices on the use of race, ethnicity, and genetic ancestry and other population descriptors in genetics and genomics research, as formulated by the committee. Read more.

Documentary short, “The Uprising,” showcases women in science who pressed for equal rights at MIT in the 1990s. 

The MIT Press announced the digital release of “The Uprising,” a documentary short about the unprecedented behind-the-scenes effort that amassed irrefutable evidence of differential treatment of men and women on the MIT faculty in the 1990s.This photo shows the young Nancy Hopkins, who was critical in this report to document the significant disparities for women in science. Professor Hopkins was one of the RFS founding Board Members, still very much supporting these efforts today. Read more.

Women and Global South underrepresented in climate science.
A newly published study by Carbon Brief analysed 100 of the most cited research papers on climate over the last five years and has revealed glaring inequalities related to gender and countries of affiliation of academic authors, Amy Nguyen reports. Read more.

Nadia Chaudhri, scientist with an end-of-life mission, dies at 43.
Nadia Chaudhri was a neuroscientist at Concordia University in Montreal who chronicled her terminal ovarian cancer on Twitter and raised money for minority students. “I’ve been so moved by your story, Nadia, and your kindness and spirit are just something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in such abundance before,” one Twitter user wrote. “I will carry you in my heart for as long as I live.” Read more.

UVA biomedical engineer receives NIH Director’s Early Independence Award. 

The National Institutes of Health announced that Natasha Sheybani, assistant professor in the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, is the recipient of the prestigious NIH Director’s Early Independence Award. Read more.

Elisa Konofagou elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

Elisa Konofagou, the Robert and Margaret Hariri Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Radiology at Columbia University, has been elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Read more.

New report finds wide pay disparities for physicians by gender, race, and ethnicity.
With rare exceptions, White male physicians and scientists are paid significantly more than women of all races and men of color, even after accounting for rank, specialty, and degree, according to the first-ever, national-level analysis of full-time faculty salaries in academic medicine by gender, race, and ethnicity. Read more.

National Academy of Medicine announces creation of David and Beatrix Hamburg Award for Advances in Biomedical Research and Clinical Medicine.
The award will honor an exceptional biomedical research discovery, translation, or public health intervention by one or more scientists that has fundamentally enriched the understanding of biology and disease, leading to a significant improvement in human health and social well-being and reduction in global health inequities, according to a press release. Read more.

Statements by Officials of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Commemorating the First Openly Transgender Four-Star Officer and First Female Four-Star Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps on October 19, 2021.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) publicly announced today the nation’s first openly transgender four-star officer across any of the eight uniformed services of the United States. Admiral Rachel Levine was ceremonially sworn in as a four-star admiral. Read more.

“Science and Technology Now Sit in the Center of Every Policy and Social Issue”
Alondra Nelson, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s first deputy director for science and society, wants to make innovation more inclusive and equitable, and use social science to improve policymaking. Read more.

Advancing Equity in Science & Technology Ideation Challenge: Submit Your Ideas Today.
On October 20, 2021, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced “The Time is Now: Advancing Equity in Science and Technology Ideation Challenge.” OSTP Director Eric Lander is asking the American public to share their insights on a central question, “How can we guarantee all Americans can fully participate in, and contribute to, science and technology?” Submissions are being accepted through November 19, 2021. Read more. 

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