Women in Science

Women In Science (WIS) is a SfRBM Committee whose focus is to improve pathways for women to contribute fully to academic research by promoting the visibility and participation of women scientists in the SfRBM. To learn more about what WIS has to offer, click any of the links below.

2017 - 2018 COMMITTEE

Committee Chair
Rebecca Oberley-Deegan, Ph.D.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Nebraska Medical Center
(402) 559-9364

Opening Doors Committee:
Samantha Giordano, Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham
Maria Clara Franco, Ph.D., University of Central Florida
Michelle Booze, Ph.D., Sanford Health

Communications Committee:
Aimee Eggler, Ph.D., Villanova University
Joanna Rybka, Ph.D., Nicolaus Copernicus University


WIS organizes the annual Opening Doors Event which provides the opportunity for education, dialogue and networking among scientists during the Annual Meeting. Topics vary each year and the event will feature a guest speaker.

SfRBM 2017

Who is the Indiana Jones of Your Team?
Thursday, November 30 | 6:45-9 pm

  • An adventure in team building
  • Discover and share insights into how team dynamics support lab productivity, recruitment, and collaboration
  • All levels welcome - undergrads to PIs
  • Dress for adventure! High heels not recommended

SfRBM 2016

Kimberly Dunham-Snary, Ph.D. Edward Moreira Bahnson, Ph.D. Ines Batinic-Haberle, Ph.D.

SfRBM 2015

SfRBM 2013


Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D.

Hometown: Elsloo, The Netherlands

Title and current institution: Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA

Research interests: Redox biology and the pathogenesis of fibrotic lung remodeling

How I fell in love with biomedical research: As an undergraduate student, in one of my classes I was challenged to identify organ sections under a microscope, and discuss potential causes of disease by performing literature searches. This is how I encountered my first lung tissue. I realized then how many questions about the causes of lung disease had remained unanswered. I started to read articles, and realized how fascinating, delicate and adaptable the lung is. Given the unique oxygen environment, a passion for redox biology was born.

A life challenge you had to overcome: I was not eligible for medical school, in Holland, as I was missing Chemistry as a core class in high school. My high school chemistry teacher had not encouraged me, true for numerous female students in my class. Via a difficult way, I chose to study Environmental Health Sciences, at Maastricht University, where I was exposed to biomedical research. After A-cing the required chemistry courses, I could have switched to medical school at that time, but instead I stayed the course, as I loved the research-centered curriculum.  A closed door led to unexpected opportunities, especially given that my research took me to the USA!

Best advice you have ever received: Work on really important problems, and ask yourself what you are going to contribute to your field that has impact? This could be a new method, reagent, or drug. You do not want to always ask your colleagues for a reagent. Develop something new yourself, that will benefit others and hopefully the broader community!

Pet peeves in science: Stamp collecting! Lack of running controls! Commercial kits- I really cannot stand these as you give up control!

Book or article that you would recommend: All Nicholas Sparks novels. See below. I am not into complicated books. NY Times, Tuesday science sections.

Three things people may not know about me:
1) I am incredibly un-organized in day-to day-life, forget ALL the simple details. My husband tells me that I have to wear a name tag at conferences so that I remember my own name.

2) I love to read novels that are simple, happy and positive, books you do not have to think about! Beachy-type novels. I cannot stand book clubs, as one should not have to analyze a book meant for pleasure.

3) I am a hit and-mostly-miss cook, as I never follow a recipe, and make dishes up as a go. Dinner parties at my house range from big successes to deep embarrassment. 

4) I do judge books by their cover and wines by their label…

Click here to view all the featured WIS profiles. 

Daret St. Clair, Ph.D.
University of Kentucky
Click here to read her profile

Samantha Giordano, Ph.D.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Click here to read her profile.



"Women in Science"

They are unspoken of,
hidden and kept in the shadow.
Yet some have blossomed,
leaving the darkness below.
The names are few,
but their net worth is more than the number
for history has seen to it,
that their records are kept in slumber.

They have battled through culture,
transcended religious barriers,
to pursue their passion,
their scientific careers.
Their findings have not been acknowledged,
yet they did not pine for glory,
for those who know their might,
know their struggle and story.

Emilie du Chatelet, Caroline Herschel,
Sophie Germain, Lise Meitner,
Sonya Kowalevsky, Theano,
Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Emmy Noether,
to name but a few,
but their contributions to science,
deserve accolades and awards,
but they have accepted instead, silence.

Let us live by their example,
and keep contributing to expanding knowledge.
Let us not think of reward,
for women in science have been living with tallage.
Let us think of it as our passion
keep the nobility of our work in mind,
for our discoveries in science,
will ultimately redeem mankind.

Dr. Viduranga Waisundara
National Institute of Fundamental Studies
Hantane Road, Kandy, Sri Lanka