A biologist studies and attempts to understand different life forms, and their relationship with the environment. Women scientists have made considerable advances and have given valuable contributions to the scientific field, which was earlier considered as a male bastion. The following women biologists have specialized in different fields, each contributing in-depth analytical research, that has helped towards identifying and curing diseases, as well as protecting the natural environment.
Rosalind Franklin, Biophysicist and X-ray Crystallographer
Franklin was born on born on 25th July, 1920, and graduated with a doctorate from the Cambridge University. She is credited for her work on DNA, X-ray diffraction photographs and their implications, tobacco mosaic virus, and the polio virus. At the age of 37 years, her life was cut short by cancer. Rosalind was not cited for her work on DNA, because the Nobel Prize is not awarded posthumously.
Anita Roberts, Molecular Biologist
Anita's observations on the requirement of the protein called TGF-beta, for healing wounds and bone fractures, as well as its role in the growth of epithelial and lymphoid cells, made her the 49th most-cited scientist of the world in 2005. She spent 30 years at the National Institute of Health, in the cancer department, and rose to the rank of chief of the Laboratory of Cell Regulation and Carcinogenesis, before succumbing to cancer.
Dian Fossey, Primatologist
Fossey was born in San Francisco, in 1932. She began her education as a pre-veterinary student, but later switched to an occupational therapy program, at the San Jose State College. She went to Africa to study the natural habitat of the mountain gorilla, in December 1966, and was found brutally murdered on 26th December, 1985 in her cabin. Her pioneering work on the African gorilla helped in controlling the poaching and increasing the gorilla population in Africa.
Eugenie Clark, Ichthyologist
Eugenie, popularly known as the 'Shark Lady', is well-known for her study on poisonous tropical fish and the behavior of sharks. She was born in New York City and obtained her doctorate from New York University. This recipient of numerous awards and honors, has written three books and over 160 scientific research papers on her subject of study.
Elizabeth Vrba, Paleontologist
Vrba obtained her Ph.D. in zoology and paleontology from the University of Cape Town, in 1974. She is best known for her research on Turnover Pulse hypothesis (evolutionary change to environmental change during the past 10 million years) and evolution of African mammals. She is presently a paleontologist at Yale University and is involved in the molecular genetic change to the phylogeny of antelopes project.
Barbara McClintock, Cytogeneticists
Barbara earned her doctorate in botany from Cornell University in 1927. Her research in the development of corn cytogenetics and the technique for visualizing corn chromosomes was considered groundbreaking. She won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983.
Elaine Fuchs, Cell Biologist
Fuchs is a Ph.D. holder in biochemistry from Princeton University. She is known for her research on molecular mechanisms of mammalian skin and various skin diseases, which revolutionized the outlook for dermatology. Her present focus is on skin stem cells, and their production of hair and skin. Elaine is currently head of the Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development, at Rockefeller University.
Nettie Maria Stevens, Geneticist
Nettie was educated at Stanford University and Bryn Mawr College, from where she earned her doctorate. Her research on the X and Y chromosomes, responsible for determining the sex of individuals, ended a long debate on sex determination. In her short span of life, she published more than 38 papers on cytology and experimental physiology.
These are just a few women biologists whose scientific and research work has contributed to the betterment of life.