On Wednesday, October 30, 2013, BioHouston honored four remarkable scientists at their Annual Luncheon Celebrating Women in Science. BioHouston aims to foster biotechnology in Houston by bringing together the best minds in science with the people who can help them turn their ideas and discoveries into successful products and services.
Although people in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers tend to be thought of as a single, inclusive group, it is rare that physicists, microbiologists, geologists and cancer biologists have opportunities to interact. This year’s luncheon honored women in each of these fields and brought together a wide range of experts. In attendance were accomplished scientists and engineers from the Texas Medical Center and the Houston energy sector. The event also hosted a number of students.
Graduate students looking to kick-start their careers had a chance to network with leaders in their field. In addition, high school students from YES Preparatory School and Clear Falls High School also had an opportunity to meet and mingle with these same leaders and perhaps became inspired to pursue STEM as they prepare to enter college.
Of course, the primary focus of the event was to honor four women who have not only been successful in their careers, but have made significant impacts in their scientific disciplines.
Annell Bay is a geologist and the Senior Vice President for Global Exploration at Marathon Oil. In addition to being a leader in the oil and gas industry, Annell has a passion for promoting STEM education and STEM careers. Janet Butel, Ph. D., is a microbiologist and Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine. Her research has lead to an increased understanding of how viral infections can lead to cancer. Naomi Halas, Ph. D., is a physicist and a chemist who was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences. She is the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Physics & Astronomy, as well as the Director of the Laboratory for Nanophotonics and Director of the Rice Quantum Institute at Rice University. Naomi is also the co-founder of Nanospectra Biosciences, Inc., a Houston-based company focused on developing treatments for cancer using nanoparticles. Guillermina (Gigi) Lozano, Ph. D., is a biochemist and molecular biologist. Gigi is Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetics at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, where she has made many advances in cancer research studying a gene called p53, and how mutations in this gene can cause tumor formation.
To call these women inspiring feels like an understatement. All of the accomplishments listed here are just a fraction of what they have done in their careers to earn the acknowledgement they received at the Annual BioHouston Luncheon to Celebrate Women in Science.
BioHouston, Inc. is a non-profit corporation founded by Houston area academic and research institutions and has been led by President and CEO Jacqueline R. Northcut since 2002. The organization is leading a broad effort to establish the Houston region as a vigorous global competitor in life science and biotechnology commercialization, with a mission to create an environment that will stimulate technology transfer and research commercialization, thereby generating economic wealth for the Houston region and making it a global competitor in the life sciences. Click here to learn more about BioHouston.