Portrait of Ada Lovelace in purple and blue

Ada Lovelace is considered the first computer programmer.


Ada Lovelace Day is an international holiday celebrating the achievements of women in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. In honor of the day, we asked Gladstone’s internal community to reflect on and share who are the women in science, either from history or throughout the career, that have inspired them most.

Janet Rossant, PhD

Senior Scientist, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology Program, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Toronto

“Janet is a tremendously talented and strong developmental biologist who always was a caring mentor at all levels. A true leader.”

—Benoit Bruneau, Director, Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease

Mary Claire King, PhD

American Cancer Society Professor, Department of Genome Sciences and Medical Genetics University of Washington.

“Based on cloning and sequencing a dozen genes (a big task 45 years ago), she hypothesized that differences between human and chimpanzee biology are due largely to gene regulatory changes rather than protein coding changes. I was involved in sequencing the chimpanzee genome as a postdoc, and I was able to test her hypothesis 30 years after she published it. She was right!”

—Katie Pollard, PhD, Director, Gladstone Institute of Data Science and Biotechnology

Barbara Boyan, PhD

Alice T. and William H. Goodwin, Jr. Chair in Biomedical Engineering

Dean, College of Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University

“Barbara paved her way through the sciences during a time when there were even less women in science than there are today (and we still know we have a long way to go). Bottom line, she did not take ‘stuff’’ from anyone and she rose through the ranks over the years to become the dean of engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University.”

—Megan McDevitt, Vice President, Communications

Hedy Lamarr

Actress and Inventor (1914–2000)

“Hedy Lamarr was most well-known as an actress, featured in the movies Ziegfield Girl and Samson and Delilah, but she was also an inventor. During World War II, she patented the idea for a frequency-hopping signal that would prevent torpedoes from being set off course by an enemy.”

—Bethany Taylor, Chief of Staff

Catherine Page, PhD

Associate Professor, Inorganic Chemistry, Solid-State Chemistry & Materials Chemistry, University of Oregon

“Catherine is a professor of chemistry at University of Oregon, and was my first mentor in a research lab setting. She created an amazing opportunity for me as a sophomore undergrad that changed the direction of my college experience and career path. She was a caring mentor that led by demonstrating excellence in her work and never shied from expressing her intense intellect.”

–Alex Pico, Director, Bioinformatics Core

Helen Taussig, MD

Cardiologist (1898–1986)

“Helen Taussig pursued medicine against tremendous odds, in an era when the field explicitly denied women entrance—Harvard Medical School wouldn't accept women until nearly 20 years after Taussig graduated from Johns Hopkins. Despite this adversity, she would go on to make significant contributions in the field and earn many honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Lyndon Johnson.”

—Santi Bhattarai-Kline, Research Associate, Shipman Lab

Henrietta Lacks


“Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman whose cancer cells are the source of the HeLa cell line, the first immortalized human cell line and one of the most important cell lines in medical research.”

—Zainab Sada, Administrative Assistant, Bioinformatics Core

Ami Radunskaya, PhD

Professor, Mathematics, Pomona College

“My undergraduate math professor. She had a kid, performed music, and published math papers. I was inspired to add a double major in math, which I hadn’t considered a fit for me until Ami gave me a role model I could relate to. It totally changed my career.”

—Katie Pollard, PhD, Director, Gladstone Institute of Data Science and Biotechnology

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