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Whitehead Institute invests an extraordinary amount of time and energy in activities that are often described, broadly, as “mentoring.” At Whitehead Institute, that term covers a lot of ground, and it benefits quite an array of people: from some of the world’s most promising postdoctoral researchers and graduate students to local high school students and science teachers.

In honor of Women's History Month, we asked Whitehead Institute community members if they would share stories about women who have inspired them, both professionally and personally. In response, we heard about brilliant scientists, wonderful mentors, and warm friends. Here are some of their stories.

Sheri Grill is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Director Ruth Lehmann’s lab studying germ cells, the cells that become eggs and sperm. We sat down with Sheri to learn more about her and her experiences in and out of the lab.

To avoid widespread famine and malnutrition, the world must double current food production by 2050, and do so in the face of climate-driven pressures. That is why a key thrust of the Whitehead Initiative on Biology, Health, and Climate Change focuses on plant seeds, the source of more than two-thirds of calories currently consumed globally.

Climate change and economic development are increasing our risk of being infected by parasites and harmful viruses and bacteria. Whitehead Institute researchers are leveraging their expertise to better assess where pathogens will spread and evaluate their risk to humans.

Whitehead Institute researchers are studying how cells respond to stress, including dramatic shifts in temperature and in the availability of food and water. This knowledge is needed to develop approaches to protect human wellbeing in a changing climate.

The Whitehead Initiative on Biology, Health, and Climate Change (WIBHC), launched in 2021. It is a multidisciplinary program that explores the biological and health effects of climate change and that builds the foundations for biomedical and biotech interventions that could help prevent, mitigate, or treat detrimental impacts on human health. 

Jesse Platt is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Member Richard Young’s lab studying mechanisms of insulin resistance. He is also a practicing gastroenterologist and hepatologist. We sat down with Jesse to learn more about him and his experiences in and out of the lab.

Meet Anthony (Tony) Mahowald, a former university professor and department chair, and—during a scientific career spanning nearly 70 years—a bench researcher who has explored the structure of pole cells, polar granules, and oogenesis in Drosophila. At 90 years old, Tony is still working in the lab here at Whitehead Institute.