10-25-2020 Women to Watch - Flipbook - Page 33
Dr. Kathie Seley-Radtke, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UMBC, is a medicinal chemist working on an antiviral treatment for coronavirus.
School of Public Health (led by Ellen MacKenzie), has
helped bolster their condence as they tackle their
scholarship amid the challenge of communicating
the pandemic’s threats to the public.
Rivers, an epidemiologist and the lead author
on several Hopkins publications that have reached
lawmakers on Capitol Hill, recalled her oldest child
watching her give testimony before a U.S. House of
Representatives committee: “It’s important for women to share their perspectives, even when feeling nervous about getting out there.”
For some women, their dual roles as pioneers and
underdogs have shaped how they view their work.
“What drives me? Using science to achieve health
equity!” said Dr. Kathleen Neuzil in an email.
Neuzil is one of the world’s top vaccine researchers and the director of the University of Maryland
School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development
and Global Health.
“Vaccines are the perfect example — not everyone can access specialized medical care, but we can
reach everyone with vaccines to prevent disease,”
Neuzil, now working on a COVID-19 vaccine, said
she grew up without many of the resources that
could have set her up for success. Her background
colored this approach to her work, which seeks to elevate and promote the voices of those less fortunate.
The same goes for Dr. Lisa Cooper, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Equity in Health and
Healthcare at Johns Hopkins and director of its Center for Health Equity. Cooper, who spent her formative years in Liberia, developed an early interest in
how social determinants of health affect outcomes as
well as the factors that could correct those disparities.
The pandemic, Cooper said, has brought to the
surface much of what public health professionals already knew about health equity, a topic she has spent
“Now, we’re helping the country connect the dots
and helping people realize that when people are
unhealthy, they’re not just making poor decisions —
we’re not allowing them the opportunity to make a
decision in the rst place,” she said.
Katherine Seley-Radtke, a medicinal chemist and
professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore
County who has devoted her career to developing
antiviral solutions to infectious diseases, also has
channeled her lived experiences into her career.
Seley-Radtke, who is working to develop an antiviral
treatment for COVID-19, embarked on her college career at age 15 and dropped out to have her children,
resulting in a non-traditional professional path that
led to her earning her doctoral degree later in life.
As a researcher, mentor and peer reviewer for the
National Institutes of Health, she said, she constantly
looks to set an example for the next generation of scientists, which already shows signs of being more progressive, tolerant and equitable than the current one.
“My women students see a woman who has been
successful,” she said. “And that makes a difference,
whereas my role models were all men.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Meredith Cohn contributed to
WO M E N T O WAT C H