The CRISPR Nobel

In the excitement of the 2020 Nobel prizes in chemistry,  “for the development of a method for genome editing”, I became aware that I knew very little about Nobel prizes of past years. Yes, I knew that women are only infrequently awarded the Prize–so infrequently that of the 916 winners, only 56 have been women and only 19 winners have been women scientists.

While I perhaps did not have the higher mathematical skills to major in physics or chemistry, I always felt an intuitive tug when the topic turned to chemistry. Perhaps a gentle push in my high school biology class would have opened the door to chemistry. However chemistry was not an option to male or female students in my island high school of 120 students.

Historical data tells us that girls and young women are not encouraged in technology, mathematics or sciences–neither in middle or high school. Yet, a college major in the sciences demands that we have demonstrated some skill in these fields early on.

As a post-doc Fellow at Fielding Graduate University (Santa Barbara, CA), I found the science-pull tugging at me again–this time in cognitive science. In 2014-15 the term, CRISPR surfaced in the main stream-press. In 2017 as I studied the possible connections between bias and biology, early methods of memory retention highlighted CRISPR technology. Yes, the 2014 experiments were carried out with laboratory mice but some six years later in 2020, the Nobel Committee has awarded a shared prize to two women scientists “for the development of a method for genome editing” known as CRISPR-Cas9.

Megha Satyanarayana of C&EN wrote, “CRISPR is a young technology, and the sheer number of women in its ranks stands out in an industry that has struggled to address its lack of gender diversity.”F

Continue reading about the significance of this Nobel:

An important date and event before you leave this post:

Celebrate National STEM Day by hearing from an inspiring group of women in science and technology about their career paths, persisting through challenges, and the world-changing projects they’re working on now. This program is designed for young women 13 and up, but all are welcome.
Becoming Women in Tech: What Does it Take? SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 20201:30 PDT | 4:30 EDT

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