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Women in Science

Shattering the Glass Beaker
Women Past and Present Have Played Key Roles at Fox Chase

The lab of organic chemist Gerrit Toennies in the Wanamaker building on the Lankenau Hospital campus in 1935. Shown left to right are Peg Elliott, Toennies, Theodore Lavine, and Mary Adelia Bennett.The lab of organic chemist Gerrit Toennies in the Wanamaker building on the Lankenau Hospital campus in 1935. Shown left to right are Peg Elliott, Toennies, Theodore Lavine, and Mary Adelia Bennett. In 1989, Mary Daly, MD, PhD, FACP, came to Fox Chase Cancer Center with a medical degree and a doctorate in epidemiology, both of which she obtained when her three children were young.

When Daly joined Fox Chase, she met Scientific Director Anna Marie Skalka, PhD, who had come to the center in 1987. “That was pretty interesting. I mean, for a woman to be in charge of all these men doing research,” Daly said. Unbeknownst to Daly at the time, Fox Chase had a long history from its beginnings of women scientists playing leading roles in its labs and clinics.

In fact, as early as 1946, four of the institute’s 10 laboratory heads were women. And female researchers and physicians who bridge the gap between the laboratory and the clinic have continued to play a role in the achievements of Fox Chase to this day.
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Sanjee AroraSanjeevani Arora, PhD

One aspect of Arora’s research focuses on ways to determine the effectiveness of treatments for colorectal cancer, with the ultimate goal of allowing for more individualized treatment and preventing some patients from being treated unnecessarily.  She also founded a professional development and networking group for women in science at Fox Chase in 2013.

Mary DalyMary B. Daly, MD, PhD, FACP

For Mary Daly, MD, PhD, FACP, the science of living things has always been more of an art than anything else—a viewpoint that has led her not only to experiences around the world but to numerous accomplishments throughout her career.

Carolyn FangCarolyn Fang, PhD

Unlike many of her colleagues, Fang has spent her entire career at Fox Chase. She said the work environment was one in which she felt she could not only learn and be supported, but benefit from collaborating with peer scientists as well.   

Jenny GluskerJenny Glusker, DSc

Since coming to Fox Chase Cancer Center in 1956, Jenny Pickworth Glusker has had a long and storied career in the field of x-ray crystallography, which is used to determine the structure of molecules. She helped pioneer the application of the technology to biological molecules such as DNA in order to shed light on disease, which is now a common practice in cancer research.

Erica GolemisErica Golemis, PhD

Erica Golemis, PhD, has always had strong role models to help her forge her career. Even as a child, Golemis had the privilege of watching her mother take on an engineering role in which she was the only woman in leadership for most of her career.

Bea MintzBeatrice Mintz, PhD

BIG QUESTIONS. That’s what Beatrice Mintz, PhD, has dedicated her career to answering. Small questions, in her opinion, are not worth the time or effort.

Lori Rink, PhD

Grateful for such impressive mentors throughout her training and still today, Rink is motivated to give back to the younger generation of scientists currently training at Fox Chase. “Not only do I want to teach these trainees how to perform rigorous and impactful scientific research, but I also hope to teach them that this can be done while maintaining a fulfilling work-life balance,” Rink said.

Anna Marie SkalkaAnna Marie Skalka, PhD

For Anna Marie “Ann” Skalka, PhD, a career in cancer research started with some unexpected twists and turns. But in the end her path led to her current position as professor emerita and senior advisor to the president at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Margaret von MehrenMargaret von Mehren, MD

During her time at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Margaret von Mehren, MD, of the Department of Hematology/Oncology, learned the importance of making a place for herself in medicine and science.

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