According to the United Nations, women currently remain under-represented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines despite greater inclusion in higher education.1,2

The common reality for women working in STEM

As a global organization, Agilent proudly partners with numerous customers working in STEM-based roles, many of whom are women dedicated to bringing great science to life.

In this article, we pay homage to a selection of these brilliant female scientists who continue to push boundaries in their area of expertise and use their voice to inspire girls and women of all ages in exploring a rewarding career in STEM.

Women who are pushing boundaries in scientific research

Photo of scientists in a lab over an Agilent machine

Professor Leslie Weston, FAA, Research Professor of Plant Biology and Natural Products Chemistry, Charles Sturt University, Australia

In 2023, Professor Weston was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy (FAA) of Science for her pioneering research in the study of plant interactions with other plants, herbivores, and soil microbes.

Professor Weston’s objectives include the development of sustainable management practices for crop and livestock protection and determination of plant mechanisms used to compete with other invasive organisms such as weeds, pests, and pathogens.

Leading a team of researchers, Professor Weston’s group focuses on soil, pasture, crop and livestock research, and outreach, working closely with industry, farming systems, and land care groups through the Australian Government Department of Agriculture,

Water, and the Environment; the Grains Research and Development Corporation; Meat and Livestock Australia; and Australian Research Council and other industry-funded research projects.

During a recent interview, Professor Weston revealed, “I became very interested in supporting women and early career researchers in STEM fields when I first noted the lack of women in senior leadership roles in STEM fields in my area of research – in particular plant science, plant biology, and agricultural production.”

Over the years, Professor Weston has mentored numerous early career researchers to undertake leadership roles in agricultural research and outreach to stakeholders. She continues to be instrumental in the evolution of the agricultural industry with respect to crop protection and pest management.

Yamin Wang, Senior Engineer in the Analytical Research Laboratory, Sinopec Petrochemical Research Institute, China

Ms. Wang’s work focuses on the analysis of various gases in the petrochemical industry. She has a long list of achievements at Sinopec including her contribution in five national projects, and in 20 additional projects while developing three proprietary gas composition analysis methods, formulating two industry standards, and publishing more than 20 patents.

Dedicated to the construction of a fuel hydrogen quality assurance system, Ms. Wang developed a series of benchmark and online analysis methods applicable to GB/T 37244 "Fuel Gas for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Vehicles" technical index requirements.

The complete set of methods was applied in the 2022 Beijing winter games, playing an important role in guaranteeing the quality of hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles in the games and achieving good social benefits.

Reflecting on her experiences as a researcher in the petrochemical industry, Ms. Wang commented, “I may possess a certain merit often attributed to females, that is resilience, which allows me to persevere. Having been placed in this position, I feel that I must utilize the knowledge I have accumulated over the years. I can't let all that learning go to waste.” She further remarked, “I do have some hopes, especially for young women in the field. I do hope female researchers can make full use of their unique traits in work.”

Archana Thakur, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine: Hematology and Oncology, University of Virginia, USA

In cancer research, Dr. Thakur leads a team of clinical and preclinical researchers with a proven ability to collaborate and work with multidisciplinary groups.

Passionate about her research and supporting the treatment of cancer patients, Dr. Thakur has designed and executed early development and validation studies for research and FDA regulated cGMP laboratories.

Specifically, Dr. Thakur’s research focus is on attaining deep knowledge of the immune suppressive tumor microenvironment, which as a result enhances the development and efficacy of novel immunotherapeutic strategies in CAR-T cell therapy for cancer patients.

Speaking on advice to young women and girls who are interested in a career in STEM, Dr. Thakur remarked, “As a scientist, it’s common to experience setbacks in our journey and sometimes we hit a “dead-end”, but then we change direction and keep moving forward, so it’s important to pursue your scientific passion and keep going even when you have to pivot.”

Geórgia Labuto Ph.D., Research Professor, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil

At the Federal University of São Paulo, Dr. Labuto coordinates HydroPoll: a collaborative research network on water pollution and water resources. She is also a member of the International Water Association, which is linked to postgraduate programs in integrated environmental analysis, and in chemistry science and technology of sustainability.

Leading an academic group of 25 students and four researchers, Dr. Labuto’s environmental work focuses on water remediation and wastewater treatment.

Specifically, her investigative work includes the studies of emerging pollutants in water such as pharmaceuticals and microplastics, as well as the development of adsorbent materials for adsorption of pollutants and oil from aqueous medium using biomass waste and concepts of bioeconomy, circular economy, and green chemistry.

Highlighting the importance of inspiring young women and girls in STEM, Dr. Labuto said, “As a female scientist, it’s important to lead by example to show younger generations that they can occupy any space. Words can convince people, but examples captivate them.”

Tessa Moses, Ph.D., Metabolomics Specialist and Facility Manager, EdinOmics, University of Edinburgh

Dr. Moses obtained her Ph.D. in Biotechnology from the University of Ghent, Belgium, and later joined the University of Edinburgh in 2017 as a postdoctoral research associate. Her research focused on the development of a yeast platform for saponin production with applications in home and personal care products.

In 2019, Dr. Moses was appointed as Metabolomics Specialist and Facility Manager at EdinOmics – a research facility at the University of Edinburgh that applies automated workflows to provide metabolomics and proteomics services for qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Over the years, Dr. Moses has applied her extensive knowledge in metabolomics and expertise in the analysis of specialized small molecule natural products toward multiple synthetic biology projects.

Speaking about the role of women in STEM, Dr. Moses remarked, “A lot of progress that we make on a daily basis in society is very much based on STEM principles so it’s very important that young females, especially from parts of the world where female education is still a problem, are encouraged to pursue a career in STEM.”

Dr. Moses’ advice to young people considering an avenue in STEM is to, “Never be afraid to ask questions. Being afraid to ask questions crushes inquisitiveness, and inquisitiveness always takes you on a path that you would never have imagined otherwise.”

Advocacy for the younger generations

Over the years, Professor Weston, Ms. Wang, Dr. Thakur, Dr. Labuto, and Dr. Moses have excelled in their respective fields and Agilent is proud to support them in bringing great science to life with a wide portfolio of solutions and services. Equally honorable, all five scientists continue to inspire and encourage younger generations, particularly women and girls, in pursuing careers in STEM to bridge the gender gap across such disciplines.


  1. International Day of Women and Girls in Science | United Nations
  2. UNESCO research shows women career scientists still face gender bias | UNESCO