CU School of Medicine scientist helps create international database of women scientists

April 23, 2019

AURORA, Colo. (April 23, 2019) - A database of women scientists that was created a year ago by a team led by a CU School of Medicine postdoctoral fellow has grown to list more than 7,500 women and is featured in an article published today in PLOS Biology.

The "Request a Woman Scientist" database was created to address concerns that women's scientific expertise is often excluded at professional gatherings.

"The idea came from repeated experiences of seeing all men panels ('manels') and women's scientific expertise often excluded in the public realm," writes Elizabeth McCullagh, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics on the Anschutz Medical Campus, and her co-authors.

The article, "Request a woman scientist: A database for diversifying the public face of science," is published today in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Biology.

According to a 2017 study that analyzed colloquium speakers at 50 prestigious universities, men were invited to give twice as many talks about their research as women. When asked why, the event organizers often repeated the same explanation: "We tried to find a women to speak on this panel, but we didn't know any women who work on this topic."

To combat the misperception that women are not engaged in a range of scientific activities, McCullagh and her colleagues created the Request a Woman Scientist database to connect educational institutions, policymakers, the media, the public, and others with women scientists across disciplines around the world.

Women listed in the database have indicated their willingness to speak with students or the media, consult on a project, sit on a panel or serve as a conference keynote speaker.

Between its launch in January 2018 to November 2018, when data was generated for the PLOS Biology article, more than 7,500 women from 133 countries have signed up and the platform has been accessed more than 100,000 times by journalists, conference organizers, school teachers, and other scientists. Already, journalists from The Atlantic, Grist, and online National Geographic have relied on the database for sources.

To be listed, women scientists fill out an online form and members of the group 500 Women Scientists vet the entries by verifying that the submitted information is accurate. The database lists women who are in a science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM) field.

500 Women Scientists is a grassroots organization started by four women who met in graduate school at CU Boulder and who maintained friendships and collaborations after jobs and life took them away from Boulder. The group's mission is to make science open, inclusive, and accessible. When they published an open letter in November 2016, the group's founders set an aspirational goal of collecting 500 signatures, which they surpassed within hours of posting the letter. More information about 500 Women Scientists is available at

"Our goal is to increase representation of women scientists in society and change perceptions of what a scientist looks like," said McCullagh. "As our database grows, we plan to make it easier to use so that women scientists are recognized for their significant contributions to science and our understanding of the world."

Six authors, including McCullagh, are listed as authors of the article.
About the University of Colorado School of Medicine

Faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, Children's Hospital Colorado, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System. The school is located on the Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system.

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Related Medicine Articles from Brightsurf:

An ultrasonic projector for medicine
A chip-based technology that modulates intensive sound pressure profiles with high resolution opens up new possibilities for ultrasound therapy.

A new discovery in regenerative medicine
An international collaboration involving Monash University and Duke-NUS researchers have made an unexpected world-first stem cell discovery that may lead to new treatments for placenta complications during pregnancy.

How dinosaur research can help medicine
The intervertebral discs connect the vertebrae and give the spine its mobility.

Graduates of family medicine residencies are likely to enter and remain in family medicine
This study provides an overview of the characteristics of physicians who completed family medicine residency training from 1994 to 2017.

Nuclear medicine and COVID-19: New content from The Journal of Nuclear Medicine
In one of five new COVID-19-related articles and commentaries published in the June issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, Johnese Spisso discusses how the UCLA Hospital System has dealt with the pandemic.

Moving beyond 'defensive medicine'
Study shows removing liability concerns slightly increases C-section procedures during childbirth.

NUS Medicine researchers can reprogramme cells to original state for regenerative medicine
Scientists from NUS Medicine have found a way to induce totipotency in embryonic cells that have already matured into pluripotency.

Protein injections in medicine
One day, medical compounds could be introduced into cells with the help of bacterial toxins.

Study reveals complementary medicine use remains hidden to conventional medicine providers
Research reveals that 1 in 3 complementary medicine (CM) users do not disclose their CM use to their medical providers, posing significant direct and indirect risks of adverse effects and harm due to unsafe concurrent use of CM and conventional medicine use.

Study of traditional medicine finds high use in Sub-Saharan Africa despite modern medicine
Researchers who have undertaken the first systematic review of into the use of traditional, complementary and alternative medicines (TCAM) in Sub-Saharan Africa found its use is significant and not just because of a lack of resources or access to 'conventional medicine'.

Read More: Medicine News and Medicine Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to