February 11, 2019

International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2019


According to UNESCO women make up only 30% of researchers in science worldwide today, in a field were all talent should be utilised for the betterment of society giving everyone equal access and the chance to participate in the sciences is more important now than ever. At MSL we are proud to say 3 of our 5 directors are women, 57% of our workforce are women and in our lab women make up 66% of our team.

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is a celebration of the woman in science whose work changed the world and inspire others.

Like Ester Lederberg, a microbiologist born in 1922. Ester was the first person to discover the lambda phage in 1951 and was able to isolate it in 1953. She was the first person to successfully carry out the replica plating technique, though many others had already tried, but still even though this work and her other discoveries laid out the foundations for modern genetic research, she was excluded from writing in books on the subject due the sexism of the time and due to the fact that her husband was credited with much of her work. However, Ester went on past this to become the founder and director of the Plasmid Reference Centre (PRC) in 1976, now called the Lederberg Plasmid Collection. Ester only retired in 1985, her work changed the field of bacterial genetics and standard practices in microbiology labs.

Ester Lederberg is only one of many women who have changed the face of microbiology and who have advanced science for the better, and although things have improved, with women getting the credit they deserve for the work they do and more opportunities to achieve in every field of science, there is still more work to do. At MSL we always aim to get the balance right and will carry on doing so into the future.