Women Scientists Advisors Select Three Young Researchers for Recognition
Thursday, May 19, 2022
While women have now overtaken men in terms of admission and enrollment in undergraduate education, they remain underrepresented in the sciences. This includes at NIH, where 74 percent of senior investigators and 54 percent of tenure-track investigators are male, according to the most recent statistics available. Consequently, NIH is putting considerable effort into supporting women scientists at all stages of their careers.
One NIH entity dedicated to this important work is the NIH Women Scientists Advisors (WSA), a group of women elected to represent the interests of women scientists in the IRP. Among its many initiatives, each year the WSA chooses several female postdoctoral fellows or graduate students in the IRP to receive the WSA Scholar Award in recognition of their outstanding scientific achievements. The awardees present their research at the annual WSA Scholars Symposium, which this year was held on April 25 and recognized young women leading efforts to better understand how disease-related genes evolved, an investigation of how a fatty liver can give rise to liver cancer, and the evaluation of a way to deliver gene therapy for a rare genetic disease. Read on to learn more about this year’s WSA Scholars and the impressive discoveries they have made during their time in the IRP.
Dr. Noor White Traces Evolution to Identify Genes Critical for Vision
Monday, April 11, 2022
The eye has existed in some form for roughly 600 million years. Its many intricate components and the general ability of organisms to sense light have continued to adapt and evolve over huge spans of time into what we know as vision today. By mapping out the evolution of vision, Noor White, Ph.D., hopes to shed light on the genetic causes of diseases that affect the retina, the part of the eye that turns light into electrical signals the brain can use to build an image of our surroundings.
“If we can take a step back and look at the bigger picture, then we can identify the critical genetic components of vision,” explains Dr. White, who was an IRP postdoctoral fellow for four years before becoming a Staff Scientist in March.
Dr. Shameka Poetry Thomas Documents Black Women’s Experiences With Race and Racism
Thursday, February 3, 2022
The numbers are clear: Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White women in the United States. However, the reasons why are less clear. By listening to patient’s stories, IRP postdoctoral fellow Shameka Thomas, Ph.D. hopes to pinpoint potential explanations for this racial health disparity.
“We are losing mothers and children because we are simply not listening,” Dr. Thomas says.
Trained as a medical sociologist at the University of Miami, Dr. Thomas has devoted her career to documenting the lived experiences of patients of color, particularly women, who are perceived as Black. Dr. Thomas contextualizes patient’s narratives within a framework of ‘street race,’ which refers to how a person’s racial identity is perceived by others, regardless of their self-reported racial identity. Examining the influence of street race on women’s healthcare experiences, she explains, allows researchers to determine how health disparities are influenced by “how others see you.”
Dr. Shuai Xie Brings a New Perspective to Research on Environmental Exposures
Monday, December 13, 2021
“Engineering is about solving problems,” says IRP postdoctoral fellow Shuai Xie, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Xie speaks from experience. One of the problems she was interested in solving during her graduate studies in chemical and environmental engineering was how to accurately measure the way airborne contaminants adhere to and release from indoor building materials. This is a particularly important problem to solve because those interactions can affect measurements of indoor air pollution, potentially rendering them inaccurate. Of course, Dr. Xie was not trying to solve this engineering problem for its own sake; accurately gauging contamination of indoor air is important for human health.
Dr. Alberto D. López-Muñoz Pivots to New Research Focus Amidst Pandemic
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Like all virologists, IRP postdoctoral fellow Alberto D. López-Muñoz, Ph.D., knew a global pandemic was sadly inevitable. No one could predict exactly when, but it was just a matter of time until a novel virus would make its way around the globe. Nevertheless, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2, even Dr. López-Muñoz was surprised by how rapidly his career transformed as he switched gears study the novel contagion.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
When NIH postdocs aren’t looking through a microscope, pipetting, and perfusing in the lab, or writing and revising their latest manuscript, many volunteer their time to service in their communities. In fact, one of the eight NIH Fellows Committee (FelCom) subcommittees is devoted to just this.
Monday, December 7, 2015
What could be better than a big festival celebration? How about a festival celebrating science! Sounds like a nerd’s dream, right? Read more...