5 LGBTQ+ Scientists to celebrate this Pride – Ellie McFarlane

As pride month comes to an end, let’s look at 5 LGBTQ+ scientists that we should be celebrating!


  1. Florence Nightingale: 1820 – 1910

British nurse in command of nursing British and allied soldiers during the Crimean war. Her night rounds spent caring for wounded soldiers led to her being known as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’. She established the first science-based nursing school in St Thomas’ Hospital which is now part of King’s College London. She was a great statistician, once described as “a true pioneer in the graphical representation of statistics”. She made great contributions to sanitation in hospitals and worked to pass a Public Health Bill to require owners of existing properties to pay for connection to mains drainage.


  1. Bruce Voeller: 1934 – 1994

Voeller, an American biologist, was one of the first AIDS researchers. He founded the use of a certain drug as a spermicide (locally acting non-hormonal contraceptive) and topical virus transmission preventative. He established a foundation to research into the prevention of STD transmission and also researched the reliability of certain brands of contraceptive in preventing the spread of disease.


  1. Sean Whelan: 1967 – Present

A British-American virologist who identified the cellular protein used as a receptor for the Ebola virus, and identified the ribosome as a possible target for antiviral drugs. In February 2020, Whelan was recognized as the LGBTQ+ Scientist of the Year 2020 by the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals.


  1. Sara Josephine Baker: 1873 – 1945

Baker was an American physician involved in the identification of ‘Typhoid Mary’. She was a consultant to many child health organisations and, during her tenure in New York, the city achieved the lowest infant mortality rate in any American or European city during the 1910’s.


  1. Carolyn R. Bertozzi: 1966 – Present

Known for founding the field of bioorthoganol chemistry. This involves designing chemical reactions that can take place in complex biological environments. The reactions must be able to take place in the presence of varying functional groups and water, whilst having minimal impact on the biology itself. This new field has led to a greater understanding of glycosylation, adding functional groups to antibodies and allows scientists to start asking big, exciting questions like, “Can pharmaceuticals be synthesised inside the cells?”.


“Cancer cells and zebrafish replaced round-bottom flasks.” The Future of Bioorthogonal Chemistry, Neal K. Devaraj, ACS Central Science 2018 4 (8), 952-959