Today we celebrate International Women’s Day, a time dedicated to celebrating the success and work of women around the world. We hope that today sparks a national conversation about how far we have come in terms of gender diversity, but also how far we need to go in order to get a truly equal society. In this article, we will look at the leading women in science and particularly those engaged in the fight against malaria.

So grab yourself a cup of tea, sit back, relax and join us as we celebrate these amazing women! Be sure to share this article on social media if you agree with our selection!

Emma Walmsley – CEO, GlaxoSmithKline

University of Oxford graduate, Emma Walmsley became the CEO of GSK back in March 2017, succeeding Andrew Witty. She worked at L’Oreal for seventeen years prior to joining GSK, where she became the Head of their consumer health division. Walmsley is the first female CEO of a major pharmaceutical firm, with The Guardian stating that she is the most powerful woman in FTSE 100.

GSK operates three divisions: consumer-health, pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Their work developing a malaria vaccine is not-for-profit with GSK at the forefront of malaria drug discovery.

Dr Deborah O’Neil – CEO and CSO, Novabiotics

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Founded in 2004, Novabiotics is a biochemistry form based in Aberdeen, Scotland. Novabiotics is at the exciting end of drug discovery, with their focuses being around drug discovery for cystic fibrosis and fungal infections. Their drug for cystic fibrosis, Lynovex, is going through a series of clinical trials with high levels of success being recorded from across the world. Deborah is both the CEO and CSO of Novabiotics so whilst she has the fiscal brain that will make the firm profit, she also understands the drugs her team is researching.

Deborah is also the Editor of the European Biopharmaceutical Review and International Pharmaceutical Technology, sits on the Advisory Board of the Scottish Life Sciences Association and is a member of the Scottish Life Science Industry Leadership Group.

Professor Tu Youyou – Winner, 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine

The Chinese pharmaceutical chemist and educator is best known for discovering artemisinin, also known as qinghaosu, and dihydroartemisinin: drugs that are used to treat malaria, which has saved millions of lives. Tu Youyou’s discovery of artemisinin and its treatment of malaria is regarded as a significant breakthrough in 20th-century tropical medicine and an important health improvement for people of tropical developing countries in South Asia, Africa, and South America.

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Tu received the 2011 Lasker Award in clinical medicine and the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura. Tu is the first Chinese Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine and the first female citizen of the People’s Republic of China to receive a Nobel Prize in any category, as well as the first Chinese person to receive the Lasker Award.

Joan – Founder, Uganics

Joan was an orphan in Uganda for most of her childhood, finding it hard to fit in and constantly suffering from malaria. But now, she has changed her life around. She works with a team of others, producing mosquito-repellent soap and selling it to tourists which funds the distribution of it to mothers at a reduced rate, or even free of charge.

RELATED: Five Minutes with UGANICS | From orphan to entrepreneur

Is there anyone you think we missed off this list?

Send us an email at [email protected] with who you would like to add and why, and we will credit you here!

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