As a technician in Hope Bioscience’s quality control department, I am proud to be a part of a team that includes many women. In honor of this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #choosetochallenge, I want to reflect on how I’ve been inspired by the women that came before me. I learned of Hope Biosciences through job postings emailed by the University of Houston’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. At the time, I was surprised to learn the company had a female CEO and founder, Donna Chang, and how many of the employees were women. I also appreciate Donna’s personal efforts to encourage and educate the youth, along with young women, on opportunities within science through events such as career day. Up until this point, it was rare for me to see so many women working in scientific roles.
While working toward my biology degree, I developed a special interest in the study of genetics and became inspired by the resilience of the late Rosalind Franklin. She is best known for her renowned work at King’s College London, where she observed an X-ray chromatograph of DNA’s double helical structure. At the same time, researchers Francis Crick and James Watson were also working on determining the molecular structure of DNA. When they discovered a photo of Franklin’s findings, they rushed to publish the breakthrough and were later awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Although Rosalind Franklin’s work went mostly unrecognized until after her death, her discovery contributed to the foundation of genetics and has allowed for tremendous advancements across the field.
Another notable female scientist I admire is Marie Curie. In 1903, she became the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize and in 1911, was the first woman to be awarded it twice. Curie, working with her husband, discovered radioactivity and uncovered the elements polonium and radium. These pioneering breakthroughs would eventually pave the path for diagnosis through X-rays and the treatment of cancer through radiation as well as numerous other advancements.
Few researchers have caused such direct change with their discoveries as Tu Youyou did in the 1960s. To combat a resurgence of malaria across South East Asia, Tu Youyou was assigned to an antimalarial research task force. She turned to traditional Chinese medicine and extracted artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin to produce an effective anti-malaria drug. Tu Youyou was so confident in her discovery that she even volunteered to be the first human tested subject.
Much like the discoveries made by these women, the proprietary technology developed here at Hope Bio is at the forefront of innovation. March is Women’s History Month and I am privileged to not have to look any further than my very own workplace for inspirational female role models. From our manufacturing and quality control teams to our clinical team and nursing staff, from the marketing and public relations teams all the way up to our CEO, our company is full of remarkable women that all contribute to its success. I am forever grateful for the incredible opportunity to be a part of Hope Biosciences. Every day, I am able to work in an environment where women are empowered to lead, and are recognized for their contributions and commitment to stem cell science and cell therapy.
Whipps, Heather. “How ‘Photo 51’ Changed the World.” LiveScience, Purch, 29 Sept. 2008, www.livescience.com/2912-photo-51-changed-world.html.
Rapoport, S. (2002). Rosalind Franklin: Unsung Hero of the DNA Revolution. The History Teacher, 36(1), 116–127.
Rockwell, S. (2003). The life and legacy of Marie Curie. The Yale journal of biology and medicine, 76(4–6), 167.
Tu, Y. (2011). The discovery of artemisinin (qinghaosu) and gifts from Chinese medicine. NATURE MEDICINE, 17(10), 1217.