Today, 11th February marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day focused on the critical role women and girls play in science and technology. This is an opportunity to celebrate those who have made a difference to science and help inspire future generations and below we celebrate five women who inspire us for their varied contributions to the scientific community…
Maria Palmer, Director NHS R&D Forum
Someone who has influenced the landscape and opportunities for UK Clinical Research, Maria has been involved in the NHS R&D Forum since it’s inception. Maria’s commitment to improving health and care includes placing an importance on an effective and valued R&D workforce as well as helping to established a standard accreditation across all UK research sites, both NHS and Commercial.
Where did your career start? My career started with a Pharmacy degree followed by a PhD in my ‘spare time’ while working in the NHS. I started combining research with a clinical career, which lead me to spend 10 years as Research Director for a large teaching hospital in SW England.
What does science mean to you? Science is the fascinating pursuit whereby we seek to understand our world, test theories of how to overcome problems and improve life for people in every sphere of life. It allows us to find answers to fundamental questions so that we can develop the solutions we need to thrive.
Who inspires you? I am inspired by the life of Helen Taussig (1898 – 1986). Despite dyslexia, hearing loss and gender discrimination she discovered the cause of ‘blue baby syndrome’ developing a cardiac procedure that has saved the lives of thousands of babies worldwide.
What is the greatest scientific development? I think the greatest today is Artificial Intelligence. AI will allow us to rapidly combine and analyse billions of individual pieces of data from all specialties to leverage solutions that would take decades using more traditional scientific methods.
What quote inspires you? “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about you don’t have to be pushed; the vision pulls you”, Steve Jobs.
Kizzmekia Corbett PhD, Scientific Lead – Coronavirus Vaccine Program, NIH
One of the US National Institutes of Health’s leading scientists, Corbett was instrumental in the development of one of the two mRNA vaccines that has shown to be more than 90% effective. The NIH’s Director Anthony Fauci, said: “Kizzy is an African American scientist who is right at the forefront of the development of the vaccine.”
Tammi Masters, RN CCRC QM-IAOCR, Associate Director, Learning and Development, Global Clinical Training, Syneos
Tammi has worked in clinical research for over 10 years and has a clear passion for driving changes and improvements from the inside out. Noticeable accomplishments include the implementation of a CRA Accreditation program to become first top seven CRO to earn Recognized Training Center status and supported Syneos in becoming one of the only CROs to offer Continuing Education Unit credit for clinical training programs.
Where did your career start? My career started in nursing in cardiothoracic ICU at Duke University Medical Center. Opportunities at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill opened my world to clinical research which has lead to me pursuing a career in clinical research training and education.
What does science mean to you? I believe that the best way to understand the world around us and how life works is to explore in a systematic, logical and reliable way by observation, developing hypotheses then testing theories to reach a conclusion.
Who inspires you? Florence Nightingale is inspirational to me not only because she is the founder of modern nursing but also because she was a statistician who used data to create impactful changes in patient care. She truly was a pioneer whose ideas led to evidenced based practice in the nursing world.
What is the greatest scientific development? I believe vaccinations are one of the greatest scientific developments; the ability to halt a harmful infectious disease from global spread through careful development and vaccination is an incredible accomplishment.
What quote inspires you? “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” By Maya Angelou. Life will always be full of challenges.
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Senior Scientist at Pasteur Institute, Paris
Integral to the identification of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as the cause of AIDS; Barré-Sinoussi dedicated her career to HIV research and the fight against HIV/AIDS. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (alongside her former mentor, Luc Montagnier) for their discovery of HIV, Barré-Sinoussi has received multiple awards across her illustrious career.
Kerry Thomas, Accreditation Quality Officer at IAOCR
With a passion for helping shape a better future for the clinical research industry by ensuring that people are independently verified as competent and qualified, thus driving up industry standards and encouraging best practices that reduce risk. Kerry is a true pioneer in this area and has been intrinsic to helping shape clinical research standards and is one of the first ever people to commit to promoting a competency-based approach to workforce quality,
Where did your career start? My first job was teaching Biology to 11-18 year olds before I became a CRA.
What does science mean to you? It’s all the questions and a few of the answers about life and the universe around us.
Who inspires you? My high school Biology teacher. She showed me how everything she was teaching us could be applied in everyday life – it felt very relevant and not just how to pass the exam.
What is the greatest scientific development?
Mapping the human genome and all the genetic techniques that were developed in relation to this and achieving this in such a relatively short space of time.
What quote inspires you? “We ignore public understanding of science at our peril” — Dr Eugenie Clark.