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Celebrating Women in Life Science Part II: Science

Frances Arnold and Mariana Dalarsson

On International Women’s Day we like to highlight some of the many inspiring women in life science that we have had the opportunity to meet and interview.

Within life science research Nordic Life Science has interviewed both young female scientists at the beginning of their careers as well as well-established female scientists – including several Nobel Laureates.

Read more: Celebrating Women in Life Science Business




Frances H. Arnold – Better than Nature herself



“I encourage every member of my team to be a brain.”

Read Chris Tachibana’s exclusive interview with Frances H. Arnold, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2018, and learn more about her bold approaches to optimizing enzymes for society’s benefit.

Read the interview with Frances Arnold here!




Donna Strickland: “It’s all about the science”


Donna Strickland Photo Alexander Mahmoud


“There is a sense of change that is happening for women in science and there’s been a lot of work to get that change.”

Science has always been a driving force in Donna Strickland’s life. From the moment she discovered the world of laser physics, she’s been entranced by all the possibilities lasers represent for research, science and medicine.

Read the interview with Donna Strickland here!




Jennifer A. Doudna – Game-changing puzzle solver


Jennifer Doudna Photo Brittany Hosea Small


“As a young girl, I needed to see that too. I needed to know it was possible for someone who looks like me to be a scientist.”

Driven by the curiosity of nature’s secrets, Jennifer Doudna, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2020, has devoted her life to the mysteries of biochemistry and cracking a game-changing code.

Read the interview with Jennifer Doudna here!




Ada E. Yonath – She cracked the ribosome structure


Ada Yonath


“Recognition should not be a scientist’s everyday goal, there must be a passion for science and a dedication and determination beyond prizes and recognition. Also, you should not be afraid to fail.”

The 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three scientists for mapping the ribosome at the atomic level. The pioneering work was performed by the Israeli crystallographer Ada Yonath, who dedicatedly and persistently continued to reveal the large and complex ribosome structure at a time when many believed it was impossible.

Read the interview with Ada Yonath here!




Françoise Barré-Sinoussi – A true scientist


Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and HIV virus


“I was in Cambodia coordinating a clinical trial in tuberculosis and HIV, and I really did not expect to get the Prize at all. I was really surprised.”

When Françoise Barré-Sinoussi came to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008, she felt like she was in another world. As a true scientist, her world consists of research, either in the lab or out in the field in developing countries, fighting the very same virus she was receiving the Prize for discovering: the HIV virus.

Read the interview with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi here!




Cemre Manav: “RNA processing is directly related to health issues”



“Knowing that I might be helping humanity feels amazing and it is the driving force for me to just keep working and learning.”

Cemre Manav performs baseline scientific research in RNA processing that paves the way for new treatments of many diseases, such as heart failure, as well as for therapeutic processes, for example gene silencing.

Read the interview with Cemre Manav here!




Cagla Sahin – Expanding our knowledge of memory



“Once you make any discovery – even tiny findings – they are a part of a bigger question, and I just find it thrilling and exciting to understand the everyday life – in nature, health and disease.”

Cagla Sahin’s research focuses on expanding our knowledge of how the human memory is formed and stored, and she will investigate molecular interactions inside cellular structures formed by memory proteins and her findings might lead to a better understanding of the relationship between normal brain function and disease.

Read the interview with Cagla Sahin here!




Kaja Plucinska – Combating insulin resistance



“Take initiative and never let go of your ambition. If you love science, you will be able to live it. If you don’t, switch jobs.”

Kaja Plucinska’s research focuses on the brown and beige fat secretome and the discovery of novel endocrine factors regulating insulin sensitivity and energy balance. Her findings might lead to new therapeutic strategies to combat insulin resistance in Type 2 Diabetes.

Read the interview with Kaja Plucinska here!




Sarah McGarrity – Exploring links between endothelial cell function and metabolism



“As a scientist each day presents new challenges so my job is always interesting and varied.”

Sarah McGarrity’s research focuses on endothelial cells, which are important for blood pressure and clotting, and her findings might give us a better understanding and lead to treatments for conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetic vascular damage and acute vascular problems due to shock.

Read the interview with Sarah McGarrity here!




Mariana Dalarsson: “Ignore stereotypes and stay curious”



“I have also never had a female teacher during my university studies.”

Mariana Dalarsson, a L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science in Sweden 2021 award recipient, has an interdisciplinary approach to fighting cancer.

Read the interview with Mariana Dalarsson here!




More articles about Women in Science:



Honoring women in science

L’Oréal, UNESCO and collaborators have chosen to turn the spotlight on female researchers and encourage more young women to enter this profession. Nordic Life Science has chosen to highlight two 2019 life science winners from our region, Aishe A. Sarshad and Laura Elo.

Read the article about Aishe A. Sarshad and Laura Elo here!




Making a stand for gender equality

Last fall Young Academies from the Nordic and the Baltic countries published a joint statement on gender equality in academia with the aim to engage the new generation of researchers.

Read the interview with Guru Busterud and Ingrid Lossius Falkum, Board members of the Young Academy of Norway, here!



Vera Sandberg – Sweden’s first female engineer

Vera Sandberg was the first woman to receive a bachelor’s degree in engineering in Sweden, in 1917.

Read the article about Vera Sandberg here!