We're celebrating Women's History Month this year by highlighting female scientists! Each Wednesday of the month on Facebook we'll feature female scientists that are changing our world as we know it.
Cynthia Kenyon is an American molecular biologist who discovered that there is a single genetic mutation that can control ageing in worms, known as C. elegans. Cynthia's research revealed that damage in a gene called daf-2 doubled the worm's lifespan. She is now working to do the same in humans, and her efforts have won her many awards including the Ilse and Helmut Wachter Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine in 2000.
Kristen Marhaver is a marine biologist, currently a senior scientist at CARMABI Marine Research Station, studying coral reefs and specializing in coral ecology and conservation. Her work has helped threatened coral species to survive, and much of her research looks at finding out how corals reproduce. She was the first person to grow endangered Caribbean pillar coral. She is currently working on new methods to grow corals in the hope that coral reefs can one day be rebuilt.
Tu Youyou is a Chinese pharmaceutical chemist and malariologist. Following a breakout of malaria in North Vietnam in 1967, there was a call to China to find a cure for chloroquine-resistant malaria. Tu studied ancient Chinese medical texts and identified a compound in wormwood that could be used to treat malaria called artemisinin. Tu's discovery has saved more than 3 million lives since 2000. In 2015, she became the first Chinese scientist to receive a Nobel Prize in a scientific category.
Segenet Kelemu is an Ethiopian molecular plant pathologist. She grew up in a poor farming family, and after obtaining a degree in agriculture and working abroad for 25 years, she decided to return to Ethiopia to help poorer farmers grow more food and get out of poverty. She does this by studying microorganisms in plants and researching how the plants respond to changes in the environment. This information helps scientists understand how to use biotechnology to improve food security.
Kiara Nirghin is a South African inventor, who at the age of just 16, won the Google Science Fair award with her entry on a new material made from orange and avocado peels that can hold up to 300 times its weight in water. The polymer created can be planted alongside crops acting as small reservoirs of water. Kiara's invention was able to improve the situation in her country as it faced the worst drought in 30 years. Now aged 20, Kiara travels the world as an influential speaker!
To learn more about amazing female scientists, visit our Instagram where we'll share the different female scientists that our animal ambassadors are named after each Wednesday of this month.