Famous Women Biologists

Women have been at the forefront of many scientific and research activities. The field of Biology has also seen important contributions from women. Read on to know about some important and famous women biologists.
| Saturday, December 27, 2008
Women with their intelligence and dogged determination have left their indelible mark on many fields and arenas. Science and its inquiry has also seen the contribution of women. Biology which is the study of life and living organisms has seen some women making immense contributions to this field.

Some famous women biologists include:

Rachel Carson
Rachel an American marine biologist and a science writer was born in 1907 in Pennsylvania. She is known for her book "Silent Spring" in which she elaborated on the long term effects of synthetic pesticides. Carson initially started working as a biologist with the U.S Bureau of Fisheries and later on became a known figure and researcher in that field.

Estelle Eleanor Carothers
Estella an American biologist was born in 1883 and is known for demonstration of an independent chromosome assortment.

Lynn Margulis
Lynn Margulis is an American biologist and teaches at the University of Massachusetts. Lynn was born in 1938 and is known for her work on the origin of the eukaryotic organelles. She is also known for her contributions to the endosymbiotic theory. Lynn attended the University of Chicago and completed her Ph.D from UC Berkeley.

Barbara McClintock
Barbara is considered as the one of the greatest biologists of the twentieth century. Barbara was born in 1902 and conducted research on color mosaicism within maize during the 40s. She is responsible for producing the first genetic map for maize. She also discovered the mobile genetic elements that tend to move between locations in the genome. She was also responsible for demonstration of different basic genetic phenomena including meiotic crossing over and elaborated on the roles of centromeres and telomeres. She was the recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1983 for her discovery of transposition.

Christiane Nusslein Volhard
She was born in 1942 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine which she shared with Edward Lewis and Eric Wieschaus for her work on the genetic control of the embryonic development.

Charlotte Auerbach
Charlotte Auerbach was born in May 1899 in Germany and attained recognition when she discovered the mutations that mustard gas could cause in fruit flies. She worked on this discovery with J. M. Robson and A. J. Clark and this work formed the basis for the science of mutagenesis. She was awarded the Royal Society Darwin Medal in 1977 and she also wrote a book of fairy stories under the pen name of Charlotte Austen.

Elizabeth (Liz) Helen Blackburn
Elizabeth was born in 1948 in the region of Hobart, Tasmania. She is a biologist with the University of California. She is known for her study of the telomere which is a structure at the end of a chromosome that is responsible for protecting the chromosome. Blackburn is also credited with discovering telomerase an enzyme that replenishes telomere. She was controversially fired from the President’s Council on Bioethics.

Linda B Buck
Linda is an American biologist born in 1947 and is best known for her work on the olfactory system. She was the recipient for the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her work on the olfactory receptors. She worked on this with Richard Axel. Linda was born in Seattle and received her B.S in microbiology and psychology from the University of Washington in 1975. She completed her Ph.D in immunology from the University of Texas. Her major research interest is in determining how pheromones and odors are detected within the nose and interpreted in the brain. She was inducted in the National Academy of Sciences in 2004.

Martha Cowles Chase
Martha was an American geneticist and was born in 1927 in Cleveland Heights in Ohio. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1950 from the College of Wooster and her Phd in 1964 from the University of Southern California. In 1952 she worked with Alfred Hershey to conduct one of the most famous experiments in biology in the 20th century. This experiment was conducted to demonstrate the genetic properties of the DNA over proteins. She suffered from dementia during her last years and died in 2003.

Rosalind Elsie Franklin
Rosalind was born in Notting Hill, London in 1920 and was a recognized biophysicist. She is known for her important contributions to understanding the fine molecular structure of DNA, coal, graphite and viruses. She is also known for her X-ray diffraction imaging work of DNA. After her contribution to DNA work Rosalind also worked on polio viruses and tobacco mosaic and died at the young age of 37 owing to complications following cancer of the ovaries.

Nicole C. Karafyllis
Born in 1970 in Germany, Nicole is a philosopher and a biologist of German and Greek origin. She was the recipient of the doctorate degree from the Tuebingen University in 1999. She has been working with the Goethe University and in 2007. She has worked in areas of bioethics, philosophy of science and has developed the theory of biofacticity.

Nettie Maria Stevens
Nettie Stevens was born in 1861 and was one of the early American geneticists. She was among the first researchers who described the chromosomal basis of sex. Nettie completed a four year course at Westfield Normal School in Massachusetts in just two years. She received her B.A from Stanford and studied marine organisms in Europe. She received her M.A in 1900 and went on to complete her Ph.D in 1903. She discovered that some species have different chromosomes within the sexes. She died in 1912 due to breast cancer.

Ruth Dixon Turner
Ruth was a marine biologist and was a renowned expert on terdos and wood boring bivalve called mollusks that were responsible for destroying boats and docs and adversely affecting maritime shipping industry. She graduated from the Bridgewater state college and earned her master’s degree at the Cornell University and got her Ph.D from Harvard. She specialized in shipworm research and held the Alexander Agassiz Professorship at Harvard. She was successful in publishing more than 200 scientific articles and had an illustrious and successful career as a marine researcher. She died in 2000.