While gender parity remains a significant problem in many research professions - in fact, UNESCO data has found that less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women - there are also many women who are making major research contributions in traditionally male-dominated fields. In honor of International Women's Day we're taking a moment to recognize some of the female researchers who are helping to move science forward.
Dr. Mariachristina Musso, Neurocenter Department of Neurology & Neurophysiology at the University Medical Center Freiberg
Studies have found that 75% of patients struggle to regain their language skills after suffering from a stroke, often facing communication impediments for the rest of their lives. Finding more effective ways for patients to recover the use of their language capabilities is something that Mariachristina Musso, a doctor from the clinic for neurology and neurophysiology at the University Medical Center Freiburg, is dedicated to studying in her research work. Her innovative study demonstrates how brain-computer interfaces can help stroke patients significantly improve their language skills and shows promise for replacing the need for speech therapy long-term. Discover more in Morressier’s interview.
Dr. Valeria Hirschler, Department of Nutrition and Diabetes at Durand Hospital
There’s nothing like turning your face to the sun to feel its warm rays, especially after a long winter. However, the benefits of sunshine go further than skin deep. Exposure to the sun leads to a boost in vitamin D levels, which has been linked to an improved sensitivity to insulin and reduced risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Valeria Hirschler, a doctor and the principal researcher in the Department of Nutrition and Diabetes at Durand Hospital, explored this topic further and presenting her findings on the link between low vitamin D levels and the development of type 2 diabetes in Indigenous Argentinian school children at the International Diabetes Federation Congress 2017. Her research highlights that the path towards developing type 2 diabetes can be corrected with a timely medical intervention if a vitamin D deficiency is detected. Read her interview in full.
Yashvee Dunneram, School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds
Throughout history, women have been excluded from medical research and clinical trials, resulting in a healthcare system that was largely developed by men for men. As such, women's health has suffered enormously and a vast number of female biological processes remain under-researched, including menopause. That's something that Yashvee Dunneram, a PhD student from the University of Leeds, is working to change. In fact, her findings on the relationship between dietary patterns and the onset of menopause which she shared at the Nutrition Society Summer Conference made an impact that reverberated outside of her field and was covered by the likes of Reuters and the New York Times. Her study discovered that each additional average daily portion of oily fish was tied to a three-year delay of menopause, while an additional average daily portion of rice or pasta was linked to onset 1.5 years earlier, among other findings. Discover more on our blog.
Dr. Lara Oller, independent biomedical researcher
Lara Oller first presented her poster detailing her groundbreaking medical procedure for haemorrhagic shock treatment the Euroanaesthesia Conference in 2016. Oxsealife, the name of this treatment, is an innovative fluid designed to treat the core issue of severe bleeding and improve the survival rates and outcomes for haemorrhagic shock patients. Dr. Oller went on to publish her research in Anaesthesia journal in 2019, which triggered interest from a number of pharmaceutical companies to develop the treatment further. Right now, her research is being trialled on animals, however she soon plans on testing the treatment in humans. Find out more about her research goals and challenges in this interview.