Women in neuroscience? A 50 year history!!!

Tuesday, 23 de March de 2021

A carreira de mulheres na ciência e em neurociência foi aumentando ao longo das décadas, entretanto, esses dados não se mostram crescente quando falamos das camadas superiores da academia!!! Nisso, podemos perceber que ainda temos muito a evoluir. Mas, também é importante comemorar os avanços, e como uma marca memorável para essa história a Sociedade de Neurociência o mês da história da mulher na neurociência, e destacando o quanto a diversificação de gênero pode melhorar o valor e a produção de ciência.

Source: Neuronline.sfn (2019)

At this event, they highlighted the great names of women neuroscientists and the advances that women have made in this subject, but of course, without forgetting that many efforts are still needed to increase gender equality in the scientific community.

Some women such as Huda Akil, Carol Mason and Carla Shatz shared some of their stories. 


Huda Akil, Ph.D.


Source: bbrfoundation (2007)

Within her studies, she developed very important contributions on the neurobiology of emotions. She was among the group of scholars who provided the first physiological evidence for a role of endorphins in the brain and that they are activated by stress. Today, Huda Akil and her team focus on the role of genes and molecules in mood disorders, including the role of the glucocorticoid receptor in this process. She is also one of the leaders of the Pritzker Consortium, which uses the combination of several tools (neuroscientific, genetic, genomic) to try to find a something that provides data which is able to support the biological basis of some pathologies such as - schizophrenia, major depression and manic episodes -depressants.

Huda has received several awards and is a highlight in neuroscience:

• Goldman-Rakic ​​2007 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience.

• Association of American Medical Colleges Award for Distinguished Research in Biomedical Sciences, in 2013.

• She was elected to the Lebanese Academy of Medicine and received the Kuwait Prize in Biomedical Research in 2015.


Carol Mason, PhD


Source: Zuckermaninstitute (2018)

Carol Mason has a bachelor's degree in biology from Chatham College and a doctorate in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a member of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Institute for Mental Brain Behavior at Columbia University, acting as a researcher and professor in the disciplines of pathology and cell biology, neuroscience and ophthalmology. She serves as  a director of the vision science training program, chairholder for inter-school planning and She is in charge of the doctoral program in neurobiology and behavior as well. Her work has direct implications in restoring vision acting as  promising research that can be used for possible transplant therapy

She says: "All of our work, ... is done with the hope of one day recreating what happened during development, even in adulthood."


Carla J. Shatz, PhD


Source: Stanford University

Carla Shatz holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Radcliffe College, a master's degree in physiology from University College London and a doctorate in neurobiology from Harvard Medical School. She currently serves as a professor and researcher at Stanford University and David Starr Jordan, in the Biology and Neurobiology disciplines of the Sapp Family. Her studies focus on illuminating the mechanisms of dynamic interaction between genes and the environment that shapes brain circuits.

She has received some awards:

 • Elected to the National Academy of Sciences and Royal Society of London;

• Received the Gruber Neuroscience award in 2015;

• Received the Kavli Prize for Neuroscience in 2016


In addition to them, other great Brazilian women have made and make history in neuroscience:

• Suzana Herculano-Houzel: a Brazilian neuroscientist known for her scientific dissemination. Her findings include a method for counting neurons in human and other animal brains, the relationship between the area and thickness of the cerebral cortex and the number of sulcus on its surface.

• Margareth Dalcolmo:  a great Brazilian doctor involved in the fight against COVID-19;

• Mayana Zatz: born in Israel, but  came to Brazil when she was a child, this great scientist is a reference name for stem cell research.

• Lucia willadino braga:  a Brazilian neuroscientist who coordinates the Sarah rehabilitation hospitals and is the creator of revolutionary techniques in neurological rehabilitation.

• Ana Lúcia Hennemann: a famous Brazilian neuroscientist, involved in childhood studies, neuropsychology, inclusive learning, etc.


Not just them, but, a large number of other women have been and are very important in the career of women in science and neuroscience! These examples, should serve as a motivation for us women, to understand how giant our capacity is and to fight for this equality of gender recognition in the scientific community!



BRAIN & BEHAVIOR. Available in: https://www.bbrfoundation.org/about/people/huda-akil-phd . Accessed on: March 23, 2021.

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF WOMEN IN NEUROSCIENCE. Available in: https://neuronline.sfn.org/diversity/celebrating-50-years-of-women-in-neuroscience?utm_term=mar&utm_campaign=Neuronline&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=117243242&_hsenc=p2ANqtz_J6o1Il_SSoxZCeXAVB0aL2NIwazdJxM7DCXJgpRcCPwsWp1YfygnbFLSrauAKy6e2Ykh8jqNYcRLy2wpJNr0GIvOE_IsGhB0ZuynE4Kx5yVBie1c&utm_source=hubspot. Accessed on: March 23, 2021.

ZUCKERMANINSTITUTE. Available in: https://zuckermaninstitute.columbia.edu/carol-mason-phd. Accessed on: March 24, 2021.

CELL.COM/NEURON. Available in: https://www.cell.com/neuron/pdf/S0896-6273(18)30732-3.pdf. Accessed on: March 24, 2021.

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