Radical. Unconventional. Irreverent. Dr. Abigail Salyers entered the field of microbiology as an outsider and ended up bringing the field into a new era with her insights, sense of humor, and endless dedication. It took someone with her outsider status to see microbiology in a new light- or rather, in darkness, as today's post will explore - and leave us with a legacy of discovery and leadership.
Since the 1980's March has been recognized as Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the struggles and successes. While there has been tremendous progress, struggles are quite visible in the world of science. Today’s post will celebrate the achievements of female scientists, while also discussing the two major obstacles women in science face, even today.
If those of us involved in the world of infection control and prevention lived in Ancient Greece, we would have surely found a home in the followers of Hygieia, the mythical goddess of cleanliness and sanitation and the origin of the word hygiene. While her sisters were worrying about healing, recuperation, and remedy, Hygieia was working to prevent illness by cleaning and advocating sanitary practices. (Sound familiar?) In today's post, the last in our series recognizing Women's History Month, we'll take a look at this figure, what she represented, and what she can teach us about the origins of the field of infection prevention.
In today's post, we take a look back into the history of microbiology in our continued celebration of Women's History Month. The field of bacteriology started to pick up steam at the beginning of the 1900s, well before the time when women started receiving the same educational opportunities as their male peers. Nonetheless, one of the leaders of the field was Alice Catherine Evans, a researcher who overcame professional and cultural bias while making breakthrough discoveries that saved countless lives.
Thanks to films like Hidden Figures and the growing attention to the role women
play at NASA, we are becoming aware of just how critical women have been throughout the development of our nation's space program. Not only in the fields of mathematics, computing, engineering, and aeronautics, women at NASA have also been a vital part of biological research. At critical intersections of space and microcosm exploration, there have been women scientists at the cutting edge.
On a fall day in 1957, a young girl learns about the launch of Earth's first artificial satellite and falls in love with science. Perhaps she rushes home to teach her younger siblings - she is the oldest of 13 - about her new passion. Perhaps her parents overhear her gushing about her excitement, and start that day to encourage her to go to college to pursue science professionally. However the events aligned, a young Lizzie Johnson was smitten, and would go on to become a "trailblazing clinical microbiologist" responsible for the availability of many of the safe antibiotics we use today. As the calendar takes us from Black History Month to Women's History Month, we'll learn about this amazing researcher, teacher, and mentor.