Celebrating women and girls in science

7 min read

On International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGIS), we are celebrating the inspiring females shaping the future of brain tumour research.

Taking place annually on 11th February, IDWGIS aims to raise awareness of the significant gender gap which persists at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world.

We are proud that at two of our Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence the pioneering teams are led by women working at the cutting-edge of brain tumour research.

Professor Silvia Marino (pictured right) heads up the team at our Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London, where they are undertaking ground-breaking research into glioblastoma (GBM), as well as childhood brain tumours including medulloblastoma and ependymoma. 

Prof Marino said: “I believe it is possible for a woman to be successful in STEM and there are powerful role models demonstrating this to the younger generation. I think the scientific community and our society in general is on track to level the playing field between the sexes; both women and men need to engage in the process for this to be the reality in the future.”

At our Centre of Excellence at Imperial College London, the team led by Dr Nel Syed (pictured left) has a strong track record in studying the nutrients used in brain tumour metabolism and was the first to identify the fact that arginine (an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein) is used differently by brain cancer cells compared to healthy brain cells, and that by manipulating the relevant metabolic pathways, arginine levels could be used to influence tumour growth

Dr Syed’s inspiration in STEM is Professor Brigitte Askonas, one of the leading figures of modern immunology. She said: “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.”

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