Where are the women?
Female scientists allege discrimination and neglect of research on women at NIH's child health institute. In November 2014, nine senior female scientists at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) requested a meeting with their director. Their concern: that the careers of women at the institute's Division of Intramural Research (DIR) were being stymied by its powerful scientific director, Constantine Stratakis. They complained that the number of tenured and tenure-track female scientists in the then–$177 million division was at a historic low, and they said women were starkly lacking among its leaders. They wanted more women recruited and better retention of female talent. After the meeting, then–NICHD Director Alan Guttmacher wrote in an email forwarded to the women: “There is wide agreement that we have a serious problem.” He added that he looked forward to “action … which actually makes a difference.” But today, fewer female scientists run labs in D
How women at NIH's Clinical Center lost childbearing chances
Three-and-a-half-year suspension of egg freezing angers infertility experts. In 2014, Kelsey Taylor of Norwood, Massachusetts, was 19 years old, ill with severe sickle cell disease, and about to be treated at the Clinical Center, the research hospital at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). But the toxic drugs and radiation used in her treatment were likely to injure her ovaries and leave her infertile. Even at 19, Taylor knew she wanted the chance to have biological children someday. “For me that was huge,” she says. She was fortunate: NIH was just starting to freeze patients' eggs before fertility-damaging therapies, so that women might start a pregnancy after their medical odyssey. But the next year, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which launched the egg-freezing program, suspended it, dismaying infertility experts. The program originated with OB-GYN Erin Wolff, then a scientist in training at NICHD. Several months earlier, Wolff had pr
Making allowances for COVID-19
On 18 March, I woke up and checked my email. A decision letter from a journal editor caught my eye. “We are not able at this stage to accept your manuscript for publication. I invite you to address the reviewer comments and make the necessary changes and improvements in a major revision of your manuscript,” it read. All three reviewers requested additional experiments, and the editor gave us 3 weeks to submit a revised manuscript. Under normal circumstances, such a decision would be disappointing but the experiments doable. Not in these days of COVID-19—and certainly not by the deadline we had been given. > “Should we rethink our standard peer-review procedures?” I am a research group leader at a university in Shenzhen, China. I last saw my group members in January, when we took off for 2 weeks of vacation for the Chinese New Year. We planned to return to the university in early February. However, the unexpected spread of the new coronavirus disrupted our lives and work arrangemen
Seeking career clarity
We asked young scientists to serve as peer mentors for “Seeking Career Clarity,” the author of the question below. By asking reflective questions, sharing relevant personal experiences, and offering advice, these scientists provide support and perspective. Follow NextGen Voices on Twitter with hashtag #NextGenSci. Read previous NextGen Voices survey results at <https://science.sciencemag.org/collection/nextgen-voices>. —Jennifer Sills Dear NextGen VOICES peer mentors, I am the first of my family to go to graduate school, and I'm about to defend my Ph.D. It has been a really tough few years, but I've finally completed all the requirements in my program. I published two papers and was a coauthor on several more. I was even given an “outstanding student” grant to attend a conference this year! Even so, this all feels quite average for a Ph.D. student, and I feel like I can attribute most of my achievements to luck. The support of my peers and adviser also helped me a lot. As I apply f