Dear Colleagues, 

I am pleased to include another issue of RFS Briefings with some timely and encouraging updates on 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 Signature

Karla Shepard Rubinger
Executive Director
Rosalind Franklin Society

Join us for "Monthly Mondays,"

Join us for "Monthly Mondays," an exciting new webinar series of interviews and presentations brought to you by the Rosalind Franklin Society. This series is dedicated to showcasing the inspiring work, innovative research, and transformative achievements of women and minorities in the fields of science, medicine, and technology. In partnership with Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News and Mary Ann Liebert Publishers, we will showcase the significant contributions and unique paths and opportunities in academia, public agencies, and industry. 
Each webinar of "Monthly Mondays" promises to bring you groundbreaking developments, personal successes, and the diverse paths navigated by our featured guests. Don't miss this opportunity to gain insights, find inspiration, and connect with trailblazers shaping the very personal future of science, medicine, and biotechnology. Tune in and be part of a community that celebrates science and prioritizes diversity, innovation, and the power of knowledge.
We're excited to announce that the first presentation, scheduled for March 25th, will feature the new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research. This session promises to provide valuable insights and updates on the initiative which, under the leadership of First Lady Jill Biden, aims to fundamentally change how we approach and fund women's health research. You can register for the upcoming session and the series here

Judith Campisi (1948–2024), cell biologist who explored how cells age. 

Judith Campisi was the first to show that cellular senescence, a state in which body cells cease to divide but do not die when they should, has both detrimental and beneficial consequences. Senescent cells accumulate in many aging tissues, where they exert adverse effects. Judy inspired a generation of scientists by creating an open-minded, creative and cutting-edge atmosphere of scientific discovery. Read more. Image Credit: Buck Institute.

U.S. Women Make Gains in Highest-Paying Occupations but Still Lag Men.
Women now make up 35% of workers in the United States’ 10 highest-paying occupations—up from 13% in 1980—and have increased their presence in almost all of these occupations, which include physicians, lawyers, and pharmacists. Read more.

3 innovations transforming women's health around the world.
A new global health alliance aims to drive innovations in women's health, such as one-shot HPV vaccines and self-administering family planning solutions, to accelerate closing the gender health gap. Read more.

Improving women’s health ‘could add at least $1tn a year to global economy’
Closing the gender health gap could add at least $1tn (£790bn) a year to the global economy by 2040, according to the first report to quantify the economic opportunities of investing in women’s wellbeing. Read more.

Women in the C-Suite Discuss the Importance of Representation in Leadership.
Recently, GEN Biotechnology senior editor, Fay Lin, PhD, spoke with Judith Absalon, MD, MPH, vice president and clinical sciences disease area lead of infectious diseases and virology at Glaxo Smith Kline, and Cassandra Wesselman, chief marketing officer at Rosalind, about their respective career journeys including their successes and challenges. Read more.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra Tours New England, Announces $100 Million Investment in Women’s Healthcare Alongside the First Lady.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra toured New England to highlight how President Biden’s agenda is delivering for communities across the country. The Secretary joined First Lady Jill Biden in Boston to announce $100 million investment in women’s health research. Read more.

A Multitalented Scientist Seeks the Origins of Multicellularity.

The geneticist Cassandra Extavour became the first Black woman to receive tenure in the biological sciences at Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Her studies of reproductive cells yield insights into the origins of multicellular life. Read more. Image: Cassandra G. Extavour, Extavour Lab.

NSF, NIH partner on new research to develop RNA-based methods for biotech innovations.
The U.S. National Science Foundation has awarded over $12.7 million across nine research teams to better understand the untapped capabilities of ribonucleic acid (RNA) for potentially far-reaching biotechnology applications, from disease prevention in crops to cancer-fighting therapies. Read more.

Trailblazer Prize For Clinician-Scientists.
The Trailblazer Prize for Clinician-Scientists (Trailblazer Prize) recognizes the outstanding contributions of early career clinician-scientists whose work has the potential to or has led to innovations in patient care. This $10,000 honorarium and prize is made possible by a generous donation from John I. Gallin, MD, and Elaine Gallin, PhD, to the FNIH. Read more.

Meet the 2023 EXACT Plan Award Recipients.
ORWH awarded six researchers (including three women!) for the Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): EXposome in Autoimmune Disease Collaborating Teams PLANning (EXACT-PLAN) Awards. The exploratory, developmental grants requested under the awarded NOSI are intended to enable institutions to plan research strategies and develop partnerships, infrastructure, and capabilities needed to address the major goals of the EXACT Network. This NOSI will also develop a research framework and strategies to support coordination among studies, collaborative research projects, and sites. Read more.

BARDA Accelerator Network 2.0 Enabling Technologies RFP Reopened.
The BARDA Accelerator Network (BAN) 2.0 Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Enabling Technologies Hub has reopened! BARDA’s Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures (DRIVe) is seeking partners who can support startups with commercialization and wrap-around support to enable the rapid development, evaluation, validation, and commercialization of innovative products and technologies. Read more.

Georgina Long and Richard Scolyer named Australians of the Year.
Congratulations to Georgina Long AO and Richard Scolyer AO from the University of Sydney and Melanoma Institute Australia, jointly named 2024 Australian of the Year for their life-saving melanoma work. Read more.

Safiya George Named President of the University of the Virgin Islands.

The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) Board of Trustees voted to appoint Dr. Safiya George to serve as the University’s sixth president at a meeting held Wednesday afternoon following an extensive presidential selection process. Read more. Image via University of the Virgin Islands.

USA TODAY Announces the 2024 Women of the Year in Honor of Women’s History Month.
USA TODAY, part of Gannett Co., Inc., announced the 2024 Women of the Year honorees who are using their influence to empower women to lead the next generation. This year’s list includes Dr. Madhavi Venkatesan, editor-in-chief of the journal Sustainability and Climate Change. Read more.

Progress for women in science, and yet.
Kate Zernike's excellent book, The Exceptions: Nancy Hopkins and the Fight for Women in Science, is a journey back in time and a reality check for the present. In the book Zernike builds on the front-page story she wrote for The Boston Globe in March, 1999, reporting that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA, USA, had acknowledged long-standing sex discrimination. Read more.

ICON's Kathleen Mandziuk's journey from nursing to respected drug development innovator. 
Kathleen Mandziuk is vice president, project management, eClinical Development & Delivery, at ICON’ and she says nothing could have prepared the health industry for the global impact the Covid pandemic has had. Read more.

From Stepping Aside to Stepping Forward.
In the mid-1990s, Nancy Hopkins, a biologist and tenured faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), realized that she had been allocated less lab space than her male colleagues, so she turned to a trusted friend: data. She measured every inch of her lab to irrefutably prove the inequitable distribution of space. Read more.

Calls for Applications: 2024 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Young Talents Programmes.
The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science national and regional Young Talents Programmes support young women researchers around the world to pursue their scientific careers in their home countries or abroad. Read more.

The compassionate doctor.

Dr. Loice Achieng Ombajo became an infectious disease specialist, eventually serving on the faculty at the University of Nairobi medical school. She spent her days in clinics, labs, and classrooms, treating people and teaching students. She always answered patient questions with the compassion she had needed as a young girl mourning her mom. Read more. Image via Gates Foundation.

$1 Billion Donation Will Provide Free Tuition at a Bronx Medical School.
Ruth Gottesman is a former professor at Einstein, where she studied learning disabilities, developed a screening test and ran literacy programs. She donated $1 billion to a Bronx medical school, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, with instructions that the gift be used to cover tuition for all students going forward. Read more.

Why Mexico’s Ruling Party Candidate Is Already Dominating the Presidential Race.
Claudia Sheinbaum, a physicist and protégée of the current president, holds a commanding lead of about 30 percentage points in the polls over the opposition’s Xóchitl Gálvez, a tech entrepreneur. Read more.

Toni Townes-Whitley says don't celebrate that she is one of two Black female Fortune 500 CEOs.
Trailblazing titan is raising the bar for women in tech as a USA Today Woman of the Year: Toni Townes-Whitley is breaking down barriers in the technology industry as a black female CEO of the Fortune 500 company, SAIC. Read more.

Why NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps waited an extra 6 years for her ISS space mission.

NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps had an unusual path to space: She waited an extra six years to fly. "It has been a number of years, but I was confident that I would fly," Epps, 53, said during a livestreamed Crew-8 press conference held Jan. 25 at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Read more. Image: NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps. Credits: NASA

Melissa Gilliam, the first female and Black president of BU, shows what is possible.
Dr. Melissa Gilliam is one of USA TODAY’s Women of the Year. She will be the first female president of Boston University and first person of color to lead their 184-year-old research institution. Read more.

Madhavi Venkatesan is one of USA TODAY’s Women of the Year.
Economist Madhavi Venkatesan of Brewster is the executive director and founder of Sustainable Practices, which led a successful municipal plastic water bottle ban across Cape Cod. She is also editor-in-chief of the journal Sustainability and Climate Change. Read more.

Gerta Hoxhaj: Championing Breakthroughs in Metabolic Disorders. 

Dive into Gerta Hoxhaj’s journey from a childhood in Albania to being a top researcher in cancer metabolism, now winning a 2024 Vilcek Creative Promise Prize. Read more. Image via Vilcek Foundation.

Mary Bartlett Bunge, 92, Dies; Pioneer in Spinal Injury Treatment.
Mary Bartlett Bunge discovered new ways to promote regeneration in the nervous system, offering hope to countless paralyzed patients worldwide. “She definitely was the top woman in neuroscience, not just in the United States but in the world,” a colleague said. Read more.

Nature publishes too few papers from women researchers — that must change.
“We want to encourage a more diverse pool of corresponding authors to submit. The fact that only 17% of submissions come from corresponding authors who identify as women might reflect existing imbalances in science,” say the authors. Read more.

Lost Women of Science Receive Overdue Recognition, Inspire Present-Day Scientists.
To mark International Women’s Day, Julianna LeMieux, PhD, GEN‘s deputy editor-in-chief sat down with Amy Scharf and Katie Hafner, the co-founders of the non-profit organization Lost Women of Science (LWOS) to discuss their work. Read more.

New Issue of In Focus Explores Global Women's Health.
The most recent edition of Women’s Health in Focus at NIH explores global women’s health. The feature story describes the progress made as well as some of the remaining challenges for global women’s health. Read more.


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