8th March 2022
Happy International Women’s Day! Today, we’re helping #BreakTheBias by introducing you to more of our amazing female scientists from our Research & Development Centre in Halifax.
We caught up with Diane, Maria, Leah & Jess to find out about their roles at GAMA and learn the inspirational stories of their scientific heroines.
Innovation Scientist – Formulation
“I have worked at GAMA for 3 years and started as a Biocide and Cosmetic Formulation Scientist and am now working in the role of Innovation Scientist – Formulation. I did my degree in Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry at Manchester University followed by a PhD in Polymer Chemistry.
I have worked in the industry for 15 years in various projects such as drug delivery polymer coatings for stents, surgical adhesives for the lung and brain and within an FMCG company developing medicines, medical devices, biocides and cosmetics.”
MY INSPIRATION IS…
“Lise Meitner was a leading Austrian-Swedish physicist, responsible for the discovery of nuclear fission and the element protactinium. Meitner spent most of her scientific career in Berlin, where she was a physics professor and department head at the Kasier Wilhelm Institute. She lost both positions in the 1930’s because of the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws so fled to Sweden where she lived for many years.
Meitner received many awards late in her life, but she did not share the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for nuclear fission. Women like Lise Meitner should be celebrated on International Women’s Day as their struggle for recognition has helped drive equality for women in science today.”
Head of Microbiology – Innovation
“I studied my degree in Industrial Microbiology in Colombia and completed my MSc in Biochemistry & Biotechnology and PhD thesis in Virology in Spain. I have 5 peer reviewed journal articles and I am member of British Standards Institution (BSI) working group CH/216 Chemical disinfectants and antiseptics.
In 2019, I started working at FRC as a Head of Microbiology and more recently I am leading the Microbiology Innovation area. My current role involves overseeing the generated microbiological data, using industry standard disinfection efficacy methods and bespoke in-house protocols against broad-spectrum microorganisms, to underpin GAMA’s innovation pipeline.”
MY INSPIRATION IS…
Angelina Fanny Hesse
“Fanny Hesse suggested to her husband, Walther Hesse that agar was preferential to gelatin for culturing microorganisms, as it maintains gel properties at warm temperatures. This led Koch to culture M. tuberculosis using agar, without crediting her!
Agar media is widely used and is essential for microbiology and molecular biology. I thought sharing her story would be perfect to give her a deserved recognition on International Women’s Day.”
AGA Science Development Lead
“I started with GAMA in December 2019 as the AGA Technician and quickly progressed to AGA Science Development Lead. I’m responsible for managing and delivering all AGA projects as well as lending my formulation experience to GAMA products and projects.
I graduated with a first in my Master of Chemistry degree from the University of Huddersfield and I even got to shake Sir Patrick Stewart’s hand when receiving my degree! I started my career in organic synthesis working with azo-dyes and then moved into pharmaceutical formulations.”
MY INSPIRATION IS…
Marie Maynard Daly
“Marie Maynard Daly was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in chemistry. In her work, she made important strides in research around the connection between heart health and cholesterol. Thanks to Daly, we know high cholesterol is associated with poor heart health and risk of atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty deposits leading to the thickening of blood vessels).
In the late 80s, she joined other minority female scientists at a conference to address the challenges faced by minorities in STEM disciplines. In 1988, two years after retiring, she established a scholarship fund for African American science students at Queens College. Daly’s chemistry research contributed greatly to the field of medicine.”
Skin & Surface Disinfection Formulation Technician
“Upon finishing sixth form, I became the first person in my family to partake in higher education when I got accepted to study an MSci in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Huddersfield. I finished my studies during the pandemic in June 2020 and achieved a First Class MSci. During my first post-graduate job, I joined the effort against COVID-19 by working as a High-Level Biomedical Support Worker at Leeds General Infirmary.
I joined GAMA in June 2021, as a Skin & Surface Disinfection Formulation Technician, where I help the Chemistry team develop and improve GAMA Healthcare products. I’m excited to learn new skills and progress my career as a scientist at GAMA!”
MY INSPIRATION IS…
“World’s first” Computer Programmer
“Ada Lovelace has been called the world’s first computer programmer. She wrote the world’s first machine algorithm for an early computing machine that existed only on paper. She wrote about a computer, the Analytical Engine, and realised that the computer could follow a series of simple instructions to perform a complex calculation.
Of course, someone had to be the first, but Lovelace was a woman, and this was in the 1840s.”
You can read about more of our female scientists in last month’s blog post for International Day of Women & Girls in Science. Interested in finding out about our Research & Development team? Visit our Research page. Help #BreakTheBias by sharing this article on social media.
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