At Radyus Research, we understand the importance of recognizing individuals of all backgrounds. In honor of Pride Month, we explore three LGBTQ scientists who have influenced modern science. They continue to push the limits in their professional and private lives to contribute to the betterment of all the humanity. We call that bravery!
Carolyn Bertozzi is an openly-lesbian American chemist and a professor at Stanford University. Bertozzi’s research focuses on chemistry and biology. She emphasizes her research on human health and disease. She is best known for the development of “bioorthogonal chemistry,” which deals with chemical reactions compatible with living systems that enable drug targeting and molecular imaging. Bertozzi is also involved in developing new innovative therapeutic modalities for targeted degradation of extracellular biomolecules.
Bertozzi’s research has been adapted for commercial use and has helped many biotech start-ups. In fact, Bertozzi co-founded numerous start-up companies including Redwood Bioscience, Enable Biosciences, Palleon Pharmaceuticals, InterVenn Bio, OliLux Bio, Grace Science and most recently Lycia Therapeutics. Bertozzi’s continuous research is the backbone of these start-ups and she’s not showing any signs of slowing down!
Jack Andraka is an American inventor, scientist and cancer researcher. He is currently a Junior at Stanford majoring in Anthropology and Mechanical Engineering. Andraka is best known for conducting cancer research, making significant developments to the biotech industry.
At the age of 15, he presented a novel idea to detect pancreatic cancer in the early stages. Pancreatic cancer is well known for its late-stage diagnosis. His innovation and discovery of new research was inspired by his personal experience of a close friend who passed away at the age of 13 due to pancreatic cancer. He used this grief as motivation to innovate and research solutions that would positively impact patients. During this time, to discuss his ideas, he emailed 200 professors at Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health, receiving 199 rejections. One professor agreed to help him and work in his lab. Andraka came up with a sensor that is similar to diabetic test strips to detect pancreatic cancer cells at the early-stages. As of today, he is waiting for a patent.
Andraka has discussed that he is gay from the age of 13. In an interview, he stated that he hopes to inspire other LGBTQ members to get involved in STEM.
Ben Barres (1954-2017)
Ben Barres, born as Barbara Barres, was an American neurobiologist that focused on research on neurons and glial cells in the nervous system. Barres’s discoveries include the identification of glial-derived factors that further advance the formation and elimination of synapses.
Barres focused on making discoveries on synapses in the brain. In addition to these discoveries, Barres focused heavily on the brain itself looking at different neurons and spinal cord regeneration. In much of Barres’s last decade, he worked on advocating for gender equality within science. He focused on ways that society can work to fix and correct this system of inequality.
These three scientists have been prominent in shaping modern science. In celebration of Pride Month, we would like to honor all LGBTQ scientists and researchers that have made great contributions to fighting human diseases.