How do we get more women into science? A talk with stem cell biologist Claire Stewart

For the fourth part in our series to celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we speak with Claire Stewart, one of LJMU’s top female scientists, about ways to encourage more women into science.

Studying science at LJMU

Claire Stewart is Professor of Stem Cell Biology within the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences. Claire’s degree was in developmental biology, which led to a PhD in large animal physiology and endocrinology and a postdoc in cell and molecular biology.

Why did you choose to study in your particular field?

“I was always interested in how things worked and always wanted to do something related to human health – either medical or research linked. My research investigates the regulators of skeletal muscle maintenance, loss, repair and growth with age, disease, injury and in elite sport.”

Face to Face sport science event

Claire teaches schoolchildren about sport science at public engagement event.

Do you find there is a lack of women in your field?

“There are not a lot of women in my field of research. I don’t believe that this is due to a lack of opportunities per se, but rather to girls and women actively engaging in other areas that interest them more deeply.”

Are there any women in science who currently inspire you or did inspire you to take up your subject?

“When I was undertaking postdoctoral research in the States, one of my female colleagues gave me a book called 'Nobel Prize Women in Science' by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne. This book was truly inspirational – it highlighted the phenomenal successes achieved by these female scientists, in the face, at times, of extreme adversity.”

How are you helping to get more women/girls engaged in science?

“I am an active STEM Ambassador and enjoy spending time talking to young people in general about my work and that being undertaken in my field of research.”


Watch the video to find out about Claire's research within the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Why is it important to recognise International Day of Women and Girls in Science?

“I think some young girls are perhaps not aware of the sheer number of opportunities available in science or in STEM subjects more generally. International Day of Women and Girls in Science enables celebration and provides for dissemination of such opportunity.”

If you're interested in studying sport science, why not take a look at the courses within the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences?

Take a look at the other features in this series on women in science:



Pupils in class

Volunteer stories: making a difference in education

The night time economy

Volunteer stories: helping to protect the vulnerable

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