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Celebrating women in science: inspirational stories of your contemporaries

Uta Firth, Terrie Moffitt, Kay Redfield Jamison, Lyn Pilowsky, Barbara Sahakian.

In 2006, a study by psychologist Penelope Lockwood, found that women need to see female role models more than men need to see male role models.

Paper: "Someone like me can be successful": Do college students need same-gender role models?

Penelope Lockwood's findings went on to inspire an international event aimed at raising the profile of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire.

Ada Lovelace Day*, creates new role models for girls and women by raising the profile of other women in traditionally male-dominated STEM fields.

The Institute of Psychiatry celebrates this occasion, as part of our Women in Science Initiative, with a short podcast of staff and students sharing stories of STEM women who have inspired them. 

The women featured in this recording are: 
  • Professor Francesca Happé speaking about Professor Uta Frith; 
  • Dr Helen Fisher on Professor Terrie Moffitt; 
  • Clare Dolman, IoP PhD Student, on Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison;
  • Dr Rina Dutta speaking about the late Professor Lyn Pilowsky
  • Jackie Robbins, IoP PhD Student, on Professor Barbara Sahakian.

Further information on these inspirational women is available below:

Professor Uta Frith | University College London

Uta FrithProfessor Uta Frith, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at University College London, completed an undergraduate degree in experimental psychology (Universitaet des Saarlandes) before training in clinical psychology at the IoP and completing a PhD on Autism in 1968.

A world renowned expert on autism spectrum disorders, Professor Frith has developed throughout her career a neuro-cognitive approach to developmental disorders and in particular specific investigation into cognitive processes and their failure in autism and dyslexia.

A prolific author since the 1970’s, one of her notable publications was Autism, Explaining the Enigma (1989), which popularised her term Theory of Mind (ToM).

For a series of podcasts, videos and interviews with Professor Frith please see here

Also of interest is the BBC Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific with Uta Frith, which can be listened to here.

Professor Terrie Moffitt | King's Institute of Psychiatry

Terrie MoffittProfessor Terrie Moffitt studies how genetic and environmental risks work together to shape the course of abnormal human behaviors and psychiatric disorders. Her particular interest is in antisocial and criminal behavior, but she also studies depression, psychosis, and addiction. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, who completed her clinical hospital training at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute (1984).

Professor Moffitt is associate director of the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, which follows 1000 people born in 1972 in New Zealand. She also directs the Environmental-Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, which follows 1100 British families with twins born in 1994-1995.

For further information about Professor Moffitt’s work please visit her website:

Recent article on a study by Professor Moffitt can be found here:

Teenage cannabis use linked to decline in IQ

Professor Kay Redfield Jamison | Johns Hopkins University

Kay Redfield JamisonDr Kay Redfield Jamison, clinical psychologist, writer and Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center, is an international authority on mood disorders.

Having studied clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles in the late 1960s, Dr. Jamison received both B.A. and M.A. degrees in 1971 before completing her PhD in 1975. 

Throughout her career Dr. Jamison has won numerous awards and published over 100 articles in academic journals and authored or co-authored five books, including her autobiography An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness (Knopf; 1995) which gives unique insight into bipolar disorder from the perspective of her as a patient and as a medical professional.

For further information on Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison please see here.

Professor Lyn Pilowsky | King's Institute of Psychiatry

Lyn PilowskyProfessor Lyn Pilowsky began her career at the Maudsley in 1986 after qualifying from Flinders University in Australia. After initially completing her MRCPsych in 1989, with the view of becoming a psychoanalyst, Lyn discovered a passion for psychopharmacology following the researching and publishing of a literature review of rapid tranquillisation with Malcolm Lader.

In 1990 she was awarded a Wellcome Training Fellowship to study patients with schizophrenia using single photon emission tomography.

Following over a decade working at the forefront of molecular imaging in schizophrenia, Lyn was made Professor of Neurochemical Imaging and Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry in 2004. This was complemented in 2005 when an honorary professorship in neurochemical imaging and psychiatry was awarded by University College London.

An excellent teacher, an outstanding clinician and an innovator who developed a national antipsychotic review service and founded an early onset psychosis service at the Maudsley hospital, Professor Lyn Pilowsky died at the age of 46 from a brain tumor in 2007. 

Professor Barbara J Sahakian | University of Cambridge

Barbara SahakianBarbara J Sahakian FMedSci is Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests involve understanding the neural basis of cognitive, emotional and behavioural dysfunction in order to develop more effective pharmacological and psychological treatments.

This work includes studies on Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, substance abuse, depression and mania. Currently her group are working on early detection, differential diagnosis and proof of concept studies using cognitive enhancing drugs. Her research utilises neuropsychological tests, such as the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) tests, which she co-invented.

Professor Sahakian was one of the first researchers to suggest that attentional dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease could be ameliorated using pharmacotherapy, such as cholinesterase inhibitors. In addition, she was early to highlight the cognitive changes in depression and the significance of these in terms of functional outcome.

For more information on Professor Barbara Sahakian, please see here.

* Who was Ada Lovelace? Find out more about Ada Lovelace and the Ada Lovelace Day initiative here.

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