A different kind of virus: Imbalance in Science

In the 27 October 2020 issue of STAT, journalist Shraddar Chakaadar highlights a problem that confronts women scientists often — even if she, Akiko Iwasaki is the principal investigator of a major university laboratory (Yale University).

To know Iwasaki is to know that she is passionate about combatting sexism, power imbalances, and toxic behavior in academia,” writes Ms. Chakaadar.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, Iwasaki, also an immunologist, has seen her influence soar. She is a go-to expert on Covid-19, and since the start of the pandemic, her team has published nearly two dozen papers, ranging from describing a new mouse model for studying immunity to outlining what reinfections mean for Covid-19.”

However, it is her combatting power imbalances and the cultural toxic behavior that brings admirers and detractors alike to her via Twitter. “Her messages about scientific topics don’t get nearly as many critics as when she tweets about women in science or other cultural issues about academia.”

Reinfections of Covid-19 is a worry for all of us as we enter the second or third wave of infections. It is important globally that Dr. Iwasaki and her lab continue their work–and without harassment.

Dr. Iwasaki’s credentials are impressive:

Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology; Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

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