The Wyss celebrates Women’s History Month by recognizing some of the extraordinary role models who are changing the world
Learn how Tiffany Lin, Haleh Fotowat, and other women at the Wyss are making history by browsing the photos below. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University
As an accomplished scientific trailblazer, Wyss Associate Faculty member
Sangeeta Bhatia has been advocating for gender equality throughout her academic career. Gender inequality in the biotech industry became painfully clear for her when she took a yearlong sabbatical to focus on one of her startups. Nearly half of all biotech employees are women, yet they only account for 31% of executives and 23% of CEOs. To address this problem, Bhatia, and colleagues from MIT, Susan Hockfield, and Nancy Hopkins, launched the Future Founders Initiative in 2020 to increase the female faculty members who start biotech companies.
But how can changes be made? It’s clear that there needs to be a shift; only
28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the United States is comprised of women. And those women continue to face hurdles as they advance in their careers.
One important step in decreasing the gender gap in STEM and biotech is to increase the
amount of representation and number of role models that girls and young women are exposed to. The more familiar they are with examples of women in these fields, the easier it is to believe that they can be successful too.
The Wyss recognizes there’s work to be done and it must start somewhere. Our female faulty are
excellent mentors to young women scientists looking to pursue a variety of career paths. In 2021, 40% of our Wyss Lumineers (people who left with Wyss-enabled startups) were women, taking on founding and leadership roles.
Each day, women of the Wyss are influencing the future by developing high-impact technologies and acting as role models for young girls thinking about pursuing careers in STEM. We invite you to join us in celebrating some of our brilliant women by browsing the gallery below and learning how they are changing the world.
1/26 "I am making history by developing a smart food ingredient that can convert sugar into fiber after consumption. The ingredient could be used to help fight against fructose intolerance, diabetes, obesity and improve gut health." –Adama Sesay, Senior Engineer 2/26 "I am making history by characterizing the impact of inducing a state of suspended animation on an organism’s sensory perception, its ability to form new memories and to recall the old ones, using Xenopus tadpoles as a model system." –Haleh Fotowat, Scientist;
"I am making history by developing therapeutics to safely and effectively slow down biomolecular activities during acute trauma and shedding light on its metabolic mechanisms." –Tiffany Lin, Research Assistant;
"Together we are making history by building synthetic biological micro-robots, and finding ways to control their movement by understanding how cellular composition, ultrastructure, and activity contribute to generation of macro-scale behaviors." 3/26 "I am making history by developing sensitive and specific technologies to diagnose neurodegenerative diseases early, monitor disease progression, and evaluate the efficacy of new drugs." –Tal Gilboa, Postdoctoral Fellow 4/26 "I am making history by de-risking technologies. I transform complex research rules and regulations into the compliant protocols scientists need to explore and validate their innovations. I help set breakthrough technologies on the path to leave the lab and impact the world." –Sarah Sullivan, Clinical Research Manager 5/26 "I am making history by managing our complex sponsored funding portfolio, supporting our faculty relations, and serving as a bridge between our translational pursuits and our Harvard academic ties." –Paula Cornelio, Senior Administrative Officer 6/26 "I am making history by using human brain organoids to develop a novel, circadian-based therapeutic for bipolar disorder." –Mariana Garcia-Corral, Research Assistant 7/26 "I am making history by helping scientists design and execute translational research programs to transform promising science into technologies that improve the lives of patients." –Emilia Javorsky, Wyss Mentor - MedTech 8/26 "I am making history by building new diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2 and other infectious diseases. My goal is to make disease diagnostics low-cost, fast, and accurate so that they can be used for decentralized testing during epidemics." –Helena de Puig Guixe, Postdoctoral Fellow 9/26 "I am making history by supporting the Wyss scientific community with animal modeling and rodent colony management for the innovation of diagnostics and therapeutics, while ensuring optimal animal welfare, and proper execution and reproducibility of studies." –Andyna Vernet, Research Assistant 10/26 "I am making history by developing rapid diagnostics technology. Harnessing the speed of science, we can provide point-of-care results for urgent situations." –Ankita Roychoudhury, Research Assistant 11/26 "We are making history by discovering and developing novel antibody brain shuttle compounds. These brain shuttles will enable efficient and safe delivery of therapeutics, antibodies and other drugs across blood-brain barriers to treat devastating neurological disorders and brain tumors." –Liqun Wang, Senior Scientist and Amy England, Research Assistant 12/26 "I am making history by making foods people want to eat in a massively scalable, climate-friendly way." –Shannon Nangle, Former Research Scientist 13/26 "I am making history by making tools to ensure that vaccines and therapeutics advancing to clinical trials are relevant to human biology and personalized for the patient." –Girija Goyal, Senior Scientist 14/26 "We are making history by advancing new, high risk technologies to the market. We develop commercial strategies, build collaborations, and help our Wyss entrepreneurs to spin out their dream companies." –Angelika Fretzen, COO & Technology Translation Director and Ally Chang, Business Development Director 15/26 "I am making history by studying aging failure mechanisms of human skin, which could lead to better understanding of human aging as a whole, and ultimately to the development of novel therapeutics for aging reversal." –Denitsa Milanova, Technology Development Fellow 16/26 "I am making history by programming the genetic information of cells so that they regenerate injured tissues and help them recover their normal function." –Irene de Lazaro, Postdoctoral Fellow 17/26 "I am making history by re-programming cells to act as living sensors, therapeutics, and bio-factories for a safe and sustainable future world." –Pam Silver, Core Faculty 18/26 "I am making history by shedding light on how gut bacteria in premature babies affect their vulnerability to disease." –Cicely Fadel, Clinical Fellow 19/26 "I am making history by bringing philosophy and ethics to the workfloor of the lab and, through direct collaboration with the researchers, bridging bioinspired engineering and the humanities." –Jeantine Lunshof, Ethicist, Philosopher; also pictured: Anush Chiappino-Pepe, Postdoctoral Fellow 20/26 "I am making history by developing a Cervix-on-a-Chip model that recapitulates the complex microenvironment of the human cervix to improve our understanding of cervicovaginal infectious diseases and develop new therapeutics for women’s health." –Zohreh Izadifar, Postdoctoral Fellow 21/26 "I am making history by developing therapeutics that temporarily slow biomolecular activities, inducing a state of suspended animation, which could reduce organ injury and increase patient survival following trauma and infection." –Megan Sperry, Postdoctoral Fellow 22/26 "I am making history by developing freeze-dried cell-free molecular diagnostics and therapeutics, which could be used in the field to rapidly detect pathogens, or selectively manufacture vaccines on-demand without need for cold storage." –Nina Donghia, Scientist 23/26 "I am making history by bioengineering transplantable tissues and organs that could serve as functional, therapeutic organ replacements, to overcome the organ donor shortage." –Luba Perry, Senior Scientist 24/26 "I'm making history by developing fluorescence in situ sequencing, which analyzes RNA transcripts inside cells to learn how they function, and could lead to an individualized approach to understanding patients' genetic profile." –Jenny Tam, Principal Scientist 25/26 "I am making history by engineering bacteria to turn carbon dioxide into biodegradable plastics." –Marika Ziesack, Scientist 26/26 "My team is untangling the secrets of chromosome organization so we can learn how our genome functions, how it protects its integrity, and, ultimately, how all of this contributes to human health." –Ting Wu, Associate Faculty Member