When Mara Dierssen started her career as a neuroscientist, she often encountered gender discrimination. Working in a male-dominated field, she had to combat stereotypes about passivity and leadership. Lacking a female role model, she now realizes that she was unaware of many of the scientific community’s “unwritten rules,” like how to receive funding for projects, do interviews, and publish findings.
Years later, Dierssen’s strong drive to succeed, intense passion for neuroscience, and work ethic have helped her become a senior scientist at the Centre for Biomedical Research, president of the Spanish Society for Neuroscience, a member of the European Dana Alliance, as well as a mother of four children. Dierssen, who recently talked about gender and neuroscience in an interview with the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), has become a role model for today’s young female neuroscientists, not only because of her achievements as a neuroscientist, but also through her dedication to public outreach and gender equality.