What do you think about women in science?

14 October 2014        

Danielle Paul

In celebration of Ada Lovelace Day we ran a Q&A with a researcher to ask her about her career and cutting-edge science.

A wealth of groundbreaking and world-renowned research is being undertaken by female scientists we support and while every day is a great opportunity to illustrate this great work, Ada Lovelace Day on 14 October gives us a special chance to celebrate.

Ada Lovelace, born in 1815, was the scientific heroine of her time and is now a well-established ambassadorial figure to promoting the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. Ada’s work inspired some of the greatest scientific minds of our time and, in her memory, events are being held across the country to inspire women of all ages and abilities to get involved in science and to show them how.

We gave you the opportunity to ask a researcher we fund, Dr Danielle Paul from the University of Bristol, about the trials, tribulations and misconceptions of being a successful woman in science.

What makes Danielle tick?

Through her research, Danielle hopes to help develop treatments for certain heart conditions by understanding the way in which proteins and filaments interact in heart cells and how this causes the heart muscle to contract. This work will help us view both damaged and healthy hearts in a lot more detail, and will allow to us tackle heart diseases head on.

While Danielle has had many exciting moments throughout her career, her two greatest achievements in life are her two young children. Putting a career on hold to have children, or for any reason, is not an easy decision and returning to a career after having a break can be a daunting process.

How are the BHF helping?

We are providing opportunities for researchers, who have taken breaks, to bring their expertise back to the cutting edge of science by awarding career re-entry research fellowships. This scheme aims to make the process of returning to work easier by providing funding for those in Danielle’s position. As a successful candidate of a career re-entry research fellowship Danielle says:

I love being able to help uncover unknowns in heart physiology.

Dr Danielle Paul
BHF Fellow at the University of Bristol

“I have been extremely well supported by the BHF throughout my career to date and, this I hope, will give me the chance to become an established independent researcher.

“I am eager to get started. I love being able to help uncover unknowns in heart physiology. If we can identify the causes of disease in the heart, we can work out how things start to go wrong and ultimately what we can do to return the heart muscle to normal.”