Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day

2 min read

Brain Tumour Research is marking Ada Lovelace Day by championing the fantastic achievements of our female researchers within our Centres of Excellence.

Lovelace (pictured), who died in 1852, is considered to be the first female computer programmer and today is an international celebration of the achievements of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). Its goal is to raise the profile of women in STEM, create new role models to encourage more girls into STEM careers and supporting women already working in this area.

Professor Silvia Marino heads up the research team at our Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London. Within the last year, the team has had significant breakthroughs in both the study of glioblastoma (GBM), the most common primary high-grade tumour diagnosed in adults, and medulloblastoma, a primarily childhood tumour.  Her work is invaluable to the brain tumour research community and driving us closer to a cure.  

Prof Marino acknowledges that it is challenging to be a woman in science: “At senior level, equality with men is unfortunately still not a given, and it is at times difficult to be heard and sometimes even to be taken seriously. It is important to believe in oneself and persevere.”

Dr Nelofer Syed leads the research team at our Centre of Excellence at Imperial College London studying the nutrients used in brain tumour metabolism. She led her team to a ground-breaking discovery identifying that arginine is used differently by brain cancer cells compared to healthy brain cells, and that it is possible to manipulate arginine levels to influence tumour growth.  

Dr Syed was inspired in STEM by Professor Brigitte Askonas: “She was such an amazing immunologist but also a great person. She was always great with the students, encouraging them to be inquisitive and enjoy the journey of science and knowledge. 

“She still inspires me to this day, even though she has passed away.”

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