On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which is celebrated every February 11, Educaweb presents you some women who have dedicated their lives to scientific research
And is that less than 30% of people engaged in scientific research globally are women, and only 35% of university students study a career related to science, according to recent data from UNESCO. In Spain the “glass ceiling” is still maintained in the research career, since only one 21% of women hold university chairs and 25% as research professorsstates the report Scientists in Figures 2017, prepared by the Association of Women Researchers and Technologists (AMIT).
According to various studies, there are three ways to encourage more girls to be interested in studying science: encourage them to trust their scientific-technological competences, as well as provide them with didactic experiences and female referents in these areas. That is why Educaweb presents the profiles of 6 Spanish scientists that have managed to stand out and whose trajectory can inspire you to study a scientific career. All of them appear in the report Women in the scientific awards in Spain 2009-2014, prepared by AMIT, and have an outstanding professional career.
1. Maria Jose Alonso
Maria Jose Alonso (Carrizo de la Ribera, León, 1958) is Bachelor of Pharmacy from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), where he also studied a Master in Pharmacy and the Doctorate in Pharmaceutical Technology. He has also completed a postgraduate degree in Nanotechnology at the University of South Paris and a stay at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States. Is currently Professor in Pharmacology, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), and researcher at the Nano-Oncology Unit from this university center.
The scientist is expert in pharmaceutical technology and recognized for her discoveries in the field of nanomedicine and drug administration. The research carried out aims to solve problems of drugs already on the market or to develop new ones.
He has coordinated and participated in various international research consortiums funded by the World Health Organization, the Gates Foundation, the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the European Commission, among others. In addition, she is the author of more than 263 scientific contributions with more than 16,000 citations and is the inventor of 20 patent families.
For his research work he has won more than twenty awards, including the Rey Jaime I Prize awarded to the best researcher in the area of new technologies in Spain in 2011; or the Maurice Marie Janot Prize, awarded by the European Pharmaceutical Society (AMGI) in 2014.
2. Maria Antonia Blasco
Maria Antonia Blasco (Alicante, 1965) is graduate and PhD in Molecular Biology by the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM). She did her doctorate under the direction of one of the most important scientists in Spain, Margarita Salas, specializing in the telomerase and telomere research (the final part of the chromosome that protects it from degradation), the length of which can help quantify the genetic lifespan of a human being.
His scientific career began at the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center while doing his postdoctoral thesis. He obtained a doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1993 from the UAM and later made a stay in the United States at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. He returned to Spain in 1997 to form a research team at the National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), until she was appointed scientific director, position that he continues to hold today.
In addition to her work as a researcher, she is founder of the biotechnology company Life Length, which commercializes the technology that allows knowing the length of telomeres and the prediction of cell division, and therefore the life expectancy according to these variables.
Too has received more than thirty awards for his scientific work, as having been the first woman scientist in the world to be awarded the Josef Steiner Prize in 2003, endowed with one million Swiss francs for cancer research; or the Santiago Ramón y Cajal National Research Award.
3. Elena García Armada
Elena Garcia Armada (Valladolid, 1971) is Industrial Engineer and Doctor in Robotics from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UMP). Although she began her scientific career designing industrial-oriented robots, in 2009 she turned her career around when she met a quadriplegic girl, which motivated her to manufacture devices dedicated to improving the mobility of children with degenerative neuromuscular diseases.
Is currently Senior Scientist at the Center for Automation and Robotics (CAR), attached to the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the UMP, where he leads the research group that created the world’s first bionic exoskeleton for pediatric use for patients with spinal muscular atrophy, called ATLAS 2020.
It is also founder of Marsi Bionics, a platform for public-private collaboration that connects children with degenerative neuromuscular diseases with companies or people who are willing to finance robotic pediatric exoskeletons, with which children can walk and stand.
Daughter of a professor of Telecommunications Engineering and a PhD in Physics, García Armada is considered one of the 10 most brilliant scientists in Spain and has received many recognitions for his work, such as the ABC Salud Award for Best Healthcare Technology in 2016, or the Madrid Gold Medal in 2018.
4. Maria Angela Nieto
Maria Angela Nieto (Madrid, 1960) is PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular biology by the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) and currently directs the group of pathophysiology of cellular movements in vertebrates in the Institute of Neurosciences, a center attached to the Miguel Hernández University (UMH) in Alicante and the CSIC.
The professor began her postdoctoral career at the Institute for Biomedical Research (CSIC-UAM), studying programmed cell death in lymphocytes. In 1989, he did his research work at the National Institute for Medical Research in London. In 1993, he joined the Cajal Institute in Madrid and later moved to the UMH-CSIC Institute of Neurosciences, in Alicante, where he is currently carrying out his research work.
His research is pioneering in the study of the epithelium-mesenchyme transition, a biological process that helps to better understand the origin of cancer and degenerative diseases of aging. With his research team, he has discovered a mechanism that could prevent cancer metastasis.
The scientist has earned more than 14 national and international awards for his workAmong the most recent, the Santiago Ramón y Cajal National Research Award for Biology in 2019, which he will receive soon. In addition, on February 17, 2020, she will become the sixth woman to hold a place in the Royal Academy of Exact Physical and Natural Sciences.
For Nieto, girls “have to believe they can be anything they set their mind to, because there is no limitation that prohibits it, except that imposed by society itself “, as indicated in a recent interview with the Casa Mediterráneo Magazine.
5. Margarita Salas
Died at age 80 in November 2019, Margaret Salas (Asturias, 1938) is considered as one of the most outstanding scientists in Spain. Was the forerunner of molecular biology in the country together with her husband Eladio Viñuela, and her legacy focuses on the study of the bacterial virus Phi29, which has allowed know how DNA works and to be able to apply this knowledge in current Biotechnology.
She was one of the first women to graduate from Chemical Sciences and doctorate in Biochemistry by the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and managed to stand out as a woman researcher with the patronage of the Nobel Prize in Biochemistry, Severo Ochoa, her father’s political cousin and with whom she moved to New York University in 1963 for a postdoctoral stay. Later, in 1967, he returned to Spain to found the country’s first molecular genetics research group in the CSIC Biological Research Center, in Madrid, where he carried out his research on Phi29.
For 23 years she was a professor of Molecular Genetics at the Faculty of Chemistry of the Complutense University of Madrid, which allowed her to train researchers. The scientist received more than a hundred recognitions and appointments for her work, among which she has been the first female scientist member of the Royal Spanish Academy, and be named European Researcher 1999 by UNESCO. Salas was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.
6. María Vallet Regí
Maria Vallet Regí (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1946) is pharmaceutical, PhD in Chemical Sciences and Professor of Inorganic Chemistry from the Complutense University of Madrid. It is considered one of the most reputable scientists in Spain for his work in Biomedicine, specifically in the fields of regenerative biomaterials and drug delivery systems.
He directs the Intelligent Biomaterials Research Group (GIBI-CIBER-BBN) in the Department of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the UCM, where he investigates new materials to improve people’s health. It has more than 550 scientific publications, most of them in the areas of Chemistry and Materials Science.
The scientist has received many awards for her work, among which stands out the Rey Jaime I Prize for Basic Research in 2018. Recently picked up two European awards that for the first time are awarded to a woman: the gold medal from the European Federation of Societies for Materials Science (FEMS) and the George Winter Award from the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB).
“The Research work is very hard and you have to be willing to give up other things“says the scientist on the web Among Scientists, a project of the Scientific Culture program of the Seneca Foundation-Science Agency and …