One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Woman-Kind!

one small step for man, one giant leap for woman-kind!Photo: Cancer Research UK

It’s a great day for Malaysia and for women in science!

A UK-based Malaysian professor, Prof. Dr. Serena Nik-Zainal from the University of Cambridge was just honoured with the Dr. Josef Steiner Cancer Research Prize 2019 (a.k.a The Nobel Prize for Cancer Research!)

Acting as the principal researcher alongside Dr. Paul Calleja and Dr. Ignacaio Medina, the research entitled “Accelerating holistic cancer genome interpretation towards the clinic” would allow for mutations in cancer tumours to be analysed using new bioinformatic methods, which enables new approaches to targeted therapies.

Prof. Dr. Serena, who can’t help but share her excitement on social media, tweeted that her account has blown up with positive messages congratulating her, as she herself thanked her team for their support.

one small step for man, one giant leap for woman-kind!

Photo: Twitter Serena Nik-Zainal

However, Prof. Dr. Serena’s journey in academia has not been all that rosy. In 2018, she highlighted the discrimination and hardship that she faces in the world of science:

“We all have a responsibility to speak up when moments of injustice occur. So, did I, at one point in my career. I questioned why I was being treated differently within a group of predominantly male, collaborating peers. My concerns were dismissed. Regrettably, the pitch of the gradient of gender bias became steeper” she wrote in her article the "The Duty To Speak Up" for Nature Cell Biology. 

Championing equality, especially in academia, Prof. Dr. Serena talked about the duty for everyone to speak up especially when it comes to bullying, harassment, and on ensuring diversity and inclusion. In her words “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for good people to remain silent.”

one small step for man, one giant leap for woman-kind!Photo: CRUK Cambridge Centre

Prof Dr. Serena, who is a mother of two, qualified in medicine from the University of Cambridge in 2000 and trained as a physician and subsequently specialised in Clinical Genetics. She is definitely a role model for us all.

Congratulations to Prof. Dr. Serena! We’re all proud of you!

By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya