Dear Colleagues, 

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

Make sure to review the Genome Writers Guild "call for nominations" here and on our homepage. Due date: May 15th!

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

Professor Yasmine Belkaid appointed Institut Pasteur President.

"Photo copyright: © DidierRouget"

A French Algerian born in Algiers in 1968, Professor Yasmine Belkaid is an internationally renowned scientist who has focused her research on the relationship between microbes and the immune system. She began her scientific journey with training in infectious diseases at the Institut Pasteur, and her career has since encompassed a wide variety of fields including parasitology, microbiology, medical entomology and virology, as well as tissue immunity, the microbiome and human immunology. Read more.

Biochemist Jennifer Doudna receives Kimberly Prize for role in CRISPR studies.

Biochemist Jennifer Doudna received the inaugural Kimberly Prize in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center. The prize will be awarded annually to a scientist who has made “outstanding research contributions into the molecular basis of life with a direct demonstrated link of their discovery into clinic for the betterment of humankind.” Make sure to watch our earlier RFS interviews:  A Conversation with Jennifer Doudna, 2020 Nobel Laureate and The State of Biotech with Dr. Doudna. Read more. Image by Christopher Michel (Wikipedia)

Interview: HIV scientist Kundai Chinyenze: ‘I looked at Mum’s hospital bed and swore: I’m going to become a doctor’ 

Kundai Chinyenze lost both her parents to Aids as a teenager in Zimbabwe. Nearly three decades later, the medical researcher leads a mission to find a vaccine. “If there’s anything we’ve learned, [it’s that] we are faster, and get to solutions faster, when we remove barriers. Science can never be in a vacuum. [We need] scientists to challenge, and feed off each other to come up with the best solutions and find answers to our problems.” Read more. Image: IAVI

Overlooked No More: Alice Ball, Chemist Who Created a Treatment for Leprosy.
Alice Augusta Ball. Image credit: Wikipedia.

Alice Ball was a Black chemist who developed a method for the treatment of leprosy that was widely used in the pre-antibiotic years of the 1920s and ’30s. Modified chaulmoogra oil, based on the Ball Method, was distributed worldwide and helped free countless people from isolated leper colonies. Read more.

Virginia Norwood, ‘Mother’ of Satellite Imaging Systems, Dies at 96.

Virginia Norwood, an aerospace pioneer who invented the scanner that has been used to map and study the earth from space for more than 50 years, has died at her home in Topanga, Calif. She was 96. Ms. Norwood, a physicist, was the person primarily responsible for designing and championing the scanner that made the Landsat satellites possible. NASA has called her “the mother of Landsat.” Read more. Image: Wikipedia.

University of Groningen faces growing calls to reinstate sacked gender-equality researcher.

In 2018, Susanne Täuber made an official complaint that she had been passed over for promotion, arguing that she had as many published papers and research grants as colleagues who had been promoted above her. In March, a court ruled that the University of Groningen in the Netherlands could sack her, after it found that there was a “permanently disturbed employment relationship” between the two parties. Read more. Image: RUG

Chemistry’s history through the feminist lens.
Looking back on women’s history month, Vanessa Seifert has been thinking of the multifaceted ways that this commemoration can promote the equality of women, especially within chemistry. Bringing forward the stories of women like Tappūtī-bēlat-ekalle (‘history’s first chemist’) helps illuminate the fact that female chemists have been persistently neglected. Read more.

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