Dear Colleagues, 

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

We want to highlight the Call for Nominations from the Genome Writers Guild. We are again working with them to award the Rosalind Franklin Medal. You can see details HERE.

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

An international award recognizing outstanding women in biomedical research.

The Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, awarded annually by Rockefeller University, was established by the late Dr. Paul Greengard, who served as the university’s Vincent Astor Professor, and his wife, the sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard. Katalin Karikó, whose discovery of how to keep synthetic RNA from activating the innate immune system paved the way for RNA vaccines, including two for SARS-CoV-2, will receive the 2022 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize. Read more. Check out her Women in Science RFS webinar. Image: Katalin Karikó (Credit: Penn Medicine)

NASA climate research scientist awarded World Food prize.
Cynthia Rosenzweig, an agronomist and climatologist, was awarded the $250,000 World Food prize in recognition of her innovative modeling of the impact of climate change on food production. She is a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and serves as adjunct senior research scientist at the Columbia Climate School at Columbia University, both based in New York. Read more.

Gehring discusses new climate change project.
Whitehead Institute Member Mary Gehring was a featured presenter at a recent symposium sponsored by the MIT Climate Grand Challenges initiative. Gehring, who is leading a study on how to make food crop plants more robust in the face of climate change, discussed the flagship project for which she is a key investigator, Revolutionizing Agriculture with Low-emissions, Resilient Crops. Read more.

Scientific collaborations are precarious territory for women. 

Female scientists, who, as a whole, are more junior than their male counterparts, often have to decide whether they want to collaborate with a well-resourced scientist, who is more likely to be male, or with a peer of any gender whose stature won’t overshadow them. By collaborating with other women, female scientists can push back against the systemic barriers to female-led team research.
Read more. Image: Emmanuelle Charpentier (left) and Jennifer Doudna (right) won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry — the first all-female team to win a Nobel.Credit: Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty.

She helped change vaccines forever.
The highly effective mRNA COVID vaccines were essential to end this pandemic and will likely play a critical role in preventing future pandemics. They are the product of decades of painstaking work by researchers. One of those researchers is Dr. Katalin Karikó, a Hungarian biochemist who long ago saw the potential of mRNA to save lives when few others did. Read more.

In situ with Susan Solomon.
Susan Solomon is the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of atmospheric chemistry and climate science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US. She recently spoke with Emma Pewsey about battling the elements in Antarctica and preserving the integrity of science. Read more.

The pandemic is our chance to fix the Black women in STEM gap. 

How can companies not only recruit but retain more Black women in STEM? It takes more than making sure there are equal and equitable opportunities for Black women to have access to science and math coursework. Companies also need to implement intentional career interventions that address mental health. STEM careers are important and directly impact and improve the world we live in, but they are also stressful. Read more. Image: Black women are now the most educated group in the United States, but only 2 percent of STEM jobs are held by Black women. (WOCinTech Chat / Flickr)

SWHR announces 2022 honorees in public service, education, and industry for annual awards gala.
The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) will recognize and honor three leaders in health care who have made contributions to advance women’s health at its 2022 Annual Awards Gala on Thursday, April 28, 2022. Read more.

The incredible life of Maria Sibylla Merian | The Royal Society.
Maria Sibylla Merian is considered one of the earliest entomologists and ecologists and has a wide group of admirers, including Sir David Attenborough. Read more.

Childcare crowdfunding campaigns aim to keep mums on the academic track.

Female scientists are among the most difficult groups to retain in academia. Black and Hispanic women comprise just 5% or less of tenured faculty in the United States, according to a study that Cardel published in 2020. And the pandemic exacerbated the challenges. Read more. Image: For financial support, researcher parents are turning to crowdfunding programmes — some of which target mothers of color specifically. Credit: Getty

Congratulations to the winners of the YIGH Global Health Spark Awards.

The Yale Institute for Global Health (YIGH) has selected Nicky Hawley, associate professor of epidemiology (chronic disease), Yale School of Public Health; Raul Hernandez-Ramirez, associate research scientist in biostatistics at the Yale School of Public Health; and Melanie Sion, assistant professor of surgery, Yale School of Medicine, to receive YIGH Global Health Spark Awards. Read more.

Engineering and medicine combine to save babies: Turning a product into a company.
Entrepreneur Anjelica Gonzalez, Ph.D., and a team of engineering researchers at Yale had a vision to help premature and in-distress babies breathe. They created technology for a respiratory device that warms, oxygenates, and sterilizes delivered air for newborn babies at 1/10th the cost of other devices, making it accessible to populations in lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Read more.

Agnes Chase, a grass scientist, showed us what ‘holds the earth together’.
In an era when women were expected to be wives, mothers, and homemakers—and hadn’t yet won the right to vote—Agnes Chase had already built an impressive career as a scientific illustrator at one the US’s premier institutions, co-authored a book, and proved to be so good at her craft that her male supervisor was ready to break the societal norms to take her with him. Read more.

Ursula Bellugi, leading sign language neuroscientist, dies at 91.

Ursula Bellugi in 2015. The Salk Institute

Neuroscientist Ursula Bellugi made significant contributions to decreasing the stigma of American Sign Language (ASL) by showing it is a complex language and not a truncated stand-in for spoken language, as some critics had described it. Bellugi died on April 17 at the age of 91. Read more.

How women can identify male allies in the workplace.
Allyship is defined as a strategic mechanism used intentionally by individuals who strive to be collaborators, accomplices, and co conspirators. Allies are deeply invested in challenging and disrupting the status quo, dismantling systemic inequities, and shifting the power structure within an organization. Read more.

Helen Thompson Woolley showed biology does not define gender.
Helen Thompson Woolley’s family encouraged her education, and she, like many others during the so-called Progressive Era, developed a conviction that science could solve social ills. In 1893, thanks to a scholarship, she enrolled at the newly founded University of Chicago, where she gravitated toward the burgeoning field of experimental psychology. Read more. 

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