Other Leeds events

Hidden Gems: under-recognised figures in STEM

This venue has step-free access and accessible toilet.
Past event - 2024
14 May Doors 7pm
Event 7:30pm-9:30pm
The Social, 21 Merrion Street,
Leeds LS2 8JG
Join us for an evening celebrating lesser-known scientists who overcame systemic barriers to become pioneers in their respective fields. We will delve into areas ranging from neuroscience and structural biology to plant science and drug development. Talks will touch on challenges facing marginalised communities in STEM, with a keynote talk from Dr Nicola Williams on the contributions of Irene Manton to plant biology.

This evening will also be supported by Women Friendly Leeds.

Leeds' First Female Professor: Irene Manton

Dr Nicola Williams (Post-Doc)
Nicola Williams explores the career of Irene Manton and the challenges women scientists encountered accessing electron microscopy in the wake of World War II. Manton attended Cambridge in the 1920s, at a time when women were allowed to attend and study, but not awarded degrees. She went on to garner an international reputation as an expert in the cytology and evolution of ferns. This culminated in 1946 when she became the first female professor at the university of Leeds.

Nobel Prize Winner: Gertrude Belle Elion

Jenny Chandler (PhD Student )
Until the 1950s, pharmaceuticals were largely products derived from natural sources. The work of Gertrude ‘Trudy’ Elion and her colleagues revolutionised drug development, paving the way for a plethora of new medicines to be designed to specifically target certain diseases. I will be discussing the life, work, and legacy of Elion, including the challenges she faced as one of the first female scientists in her cohort, the techniques she pioneered for rational drug design, and her eventual rise to recognition upon her receipt of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

Credit where credit is due: the story of Rosalind Franklin

Monika Olejnik (Research Technician )
Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) was a British chemist whose x-ray diffraction images constituted crucial evidence for solving the DNA double-helix structure. She did not initially receive credit for this groundbreaking discovery, which together with her premature death contributed to the mythology around the ‘unsung heroine’ of DNA research. In my talk, I revisit the story of Rosalind Franklin, focusing on the social realities and the misogyny within the scientific establishment, which shaped her life and career, and how we now remember her contributions to science.

Champion of Diversity in Science: Ben Barres

Emily Hewitt (MBiol student)
This talk will cover Dr. Ben Barres, a groundbreaking neurobiologist at Stanford University (1954-2017), who made significant contributions to our understanding of glia cells, which support the central nervous system. In 1997, Barres transitioned, becoming a leading voice for transgender rights within science. He was the first openly transgender scientist elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013, and a champion for diversity in academia. Barres tirelessly advocated for both transgender and women researchers, inspiring many with his courage and dedication.
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