Celebrating the Work of Women Scientists on the 100th Anniversary of Rosalind Franklin’s Birth

Photo 51 is the now-famous X-ray diffraction picture that allowed Watson and Crick to crystalize centuries work of scientific study (from Mendel to Chargaff) into a viable structural model that explained how DNA could serve as the material of the gene. The photo was painstakingly produced by Dr. Rosalind Franklin, a contemporary of Watson and Crick. Although she and her colleague R.G. Gosling did publish their work in the same issue of Nature as the Watson and Crick paper (1,2), their work did not receive the same public accolades of that of Watson and Crick.

Applications Scientists help partners and customers apply existing technology to new questions. Read more about their work.

Women scientists have been contributing to our understanding of the world around us throughout history. On this 100th anniversary of Dr. Rosalind Franklin’s birth, we want to take a little time to recognize the work that women scientists are doing at Promega.

At Promega you will find women scientists at work in every stage of research and production: from product and technology creation to quality assurance to production to training and support. The work of production and quality assurance scientists enables key products and systems to be produced at large scale so that researchers around the globe can benefit from them. In the applications group, scientists help customers and partners develop new applications for existing products. In scientific training and technical services, scientists help troubleshoot research questions and teach scientists about new technologies that they can use in their laboratories. In R&D scientists are working with collaborators and customers to develop technologies and systems to solve emerging questions in molecular biology, ecology and applied science areas.

When asked how the scientific community can give voice to more women in science, Dr. Danette Daniels, one of our scientists who has authored several papers at Promega replied, “Support is key at two stages; mentorship and encouragement in the very early days, even prior to University, and then later from top down, with leaders and managers working diligently to promote progress and advancement of women or under-represented groups through their careers.  It has to be continual support.”

One of the students who attended the inaugural Camp Biotech for 9th and 10th graders at the BTC Institute.

To this end Promega supports the educational efforts of several organizations, including the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute (BTCI.org), which works with students and teachers as well as college and graduate students to provide key lab experiences and mentoring opportunities. Programs including the Training Support Program, iGEM Grant Awards and New Lab Start Up Program provided by some Promega local branch offices also support new scientists and students. You can read more about our work to support STEM education and scientists at our Corporate Responsibility Report website.

In this blog, we amplify the voices of our women scientists by highlighting some of their recent publications created in collaboration with colleagues at Promega and other institutions:


  1. Tobin, Martin J.  (2003) April 25, 1953: Three Papers, Three Lessons. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
  2. Maddox, B. (2003) The double helix and the ‘wronged heroine’. Nature 421, 407–8.

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Michele Arduengo

Michele Arduengo

Supervisor, Digital Marketing Program Group at Promega Corporation
Michele earned her B.A. in biology at Wesleyan College in Macon, GA, and her PhD through the BCDB Program at Emory University in Atlanta, GA where she studied cell differentiation in the model system C. elegans. She taught on the faculty of Morningside University in Sioux City, IA, and continues to mentor science writers and teachers through volunteer activities. Michele supervises the digital marketing program group at Promega, leads the social media program and manages Promega Connections blog.

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