Celebrating the women scientists tackling memory loss

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) driving the science behind our products. Our work on early diagnosis and prevention of memory loss is only possible because of the commitment of some leading female scientists. I asked them about their proudest career achievement, what inspires them to do the work they do, and what advice they have for young women pursuing a career in STEM.

Dorene M. Rentz, PsyD

Associate Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School

Your proudest career achievement

Helping to design prevention trials in Alzheimer’s disease.

What inspires you to work on memory loss?

My personal experience has let me see first hand how memory loss affects individuals and families. I would love to eliminate that suffering for others, and provide treatments before this devastating disease robs people of their memories.

Your advice for a woman starting a career in STEM?

Think big and don’t be intimidated!

Martha Clare Morris, PhD

Director, Section of Nutrition & Nutritional Epidemiology, Rush University

Your proudest career achievement

Receiving funding to conduct the first randomized diet intervention trial to test the effects of the MIND diet on brain neurodegeneration.

What inspires you to work on memory loss?

I love conducting research and studying about nutrition and brain health. But most of all, I love providing the public with ways that they can take charge of their own health.

Your advice for a woman starting a career in STEM?

Be persistent in following your passion and collaborate.

Marilyn Tan, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Gerontology, and Metabolism, Stanford University Medical Center

Your proudest career achievement

Joining the faculty as a clinical assistant professor at an academic center at the age of 30.

Your advice for a woman starting a career in STEM?

Don't let the people who doubt or question you stand in your way - use this as an opportunity to prove yourself and show them that you can achieve what you want.


Elizabeth Buffalo Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Physiology & Biophysics University of Washington; Core Faculty, Washington National Primate Research Center; Affiliate Faculty, Yerkes National Primate Research Center

Your proudest career achievement

My proudest career achievement was being honored by the National Academy of Sciences with the Troland Research Award for my studies on the neural basis of memory.

What inspires you to work on memory loss?

I think of memory as the foundation for both our sense of self and our ability to make sense of the world. Memories of our experiences form and shape our identity, and our memories provide a framework for integrating new information. I'm motivated to do whatever I can to better understand how memory works so that we can better understand how to prevent memory loss.

Your advice for a woman starting a career in STEM?

Everyone feels like they are in over their head, try to let go of the idea of being perfect and let your curiosities and inspirations drive your career.


Julie Black

Chief Technology Officer, Evidation Health

Your proudest career achievement

My work with the team at Evidation Health. Together we’ve built an engaged Achievemint community of over 1 million members. Achievement encourages healthy actions using our rewards program. I personally find it very rewarding when our members write us to share how our products have helped them to take control of their illness and get healthier.

What inspires you to work on memory loss?

Memory loss and related conditions can be devastating with far reaching impact over quality of life. I've personally watched as my elderly family members struggled to navigate their day-to-day lives, impacted by their inability to remember appointments, etc. Because this is such a far-reaching and common condition, I look forward to making a difference.

Your advice for a woman starting a career in STEM?

Follow your passion and keep learning! There are so many different opportunities and career trajectories in STEM fields that you can truly customize your experience. Thus far, I've had the privilege of doing applied machine learning, product engineering, distributed systems engineering, software infrastructure, analytics, engineering leadership and management, and product management and I'm still learning new things everyday. The field is constantly evolving and there's so many different ways to contribute - I honestly can't think of anything I'd rather be doing!


Elli Kaplan
Elli Kaplan

Founder & CEO of Neurotrack — Elli Kaplan is on a mission to change the conversation around the diagnosis and prevention of cognitive decline.