MELGEN – A Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Training Network

In our last post, we would like to acknowledge the reason for the existence of our fellowship and hence remind our readers of some of Marie Curie’s contribution in the hope to find inspiration for science.

Marie Curie embodies the paradigm of what can be achieved when there’s genuine love for one’s work. Here is to the woman who walked undeterred, who was so consumed by her love for science that her bridal outfit, for all those years of scientific discovery, took on the role of her laboratory clothing.

Marie Skłodowska Curie was born in 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. Warsaw was then a part of Russia, so Curie was born right in the middle of Polish uprisings for independence. As a result, living under difficult circumstances became a way of life. Despite financial struggles, Curie’s early education was copious in nature. Her father, who was a teacher of mathematics and physics, brought home his entire lab when Russian authorities discontinued practical education in schools. Thus began Curie’s romance with science, for her and her siblings, who were given more liberty with their father’s equipment than Polish citizens were given with their country.

It is inspiring to think about the effect that one woman, born nearly 150 years ago, continues to have on the lives of women around the world today. Marie’s research and discoveries paved the way for the radiotherapy treatment available to cancer patients today. Marie was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize and the first person ever to receive two of them – the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 and the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911.

It is with this hope that fellowships such as MELGEN will inspire young researchers to pursue science not only in a way to benefit individual lives but also as a contribution to the betterment of the society.

While it is undeniable that we still live in a world where unfortunately not all genders are considered equal, mentalities are evolving. An amusing demonstration of this is the ironic Twitter campaign launched to mock Sir Tim Hunt’s sexist comment towards women in research, #DistractinglySexy (read more here).



Throughout our studies, thanks to the MELGEN Training Network travel grants, we had the opportunity to attend international conferences and the privilege to meet leading female scientists in the field of melanoma-research

We would like to end this post by acknowledging the work of several of those inspirational women and provide links for further reading about their remarkable research.


Ashani Weeraratna, Ph.D.

The Wistar Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Caroline Robert, M.D, Ph.D 

Gustave Roussy Département de Médecine Oncologique, Université Paris-Sud, Villejuif, France


Elizabeth Patton, Ph.D.

MRC Human Genetics Unit, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK


Prof. Georgina Long, Ph.D.  

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney and The Mater Hospital, New South Wales, Australia


Prof. Julia Newton-Bishop, M.D.

Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK


Lynn M. Schuchter, M.D.

Abramson Cancer Center,University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Maria Soledad Sosa, Ph.D.

Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA


Maria S. Soengas, Ph.D. 

Melanoma Laboratory, Molecular Oncology Programme, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, Madrid, Spain


Susan Kaech, Ph.D.

Department of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA


Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D.

Department of Dermatology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA


Ishani & Sabrina