Leading ladies in the field of science

Top immunologist at the forefront of treating tumors among 10 female scientists winning recognition for their work, Li Yingxue reports.

To tumor patients, their bodies are a battlefield. In this scenario, the immune organs are the base camp and the innate immune cells are sentries and an advance force. The main force is specific immune cells, and the cell factors are the signaler and the armory. Finally, the cancer cells are the rebels. The general overseeing the campaign could be Ma Yuting and her team. They are looking for “new weapons” in this battle to help the immune system fight the tumor.

Ma, 35, is a researcher and the director of the immunology research platform at the Suzhou Institute of Systems Medicine under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

Her focus covers cellular stress responses and tumor immunogenicity as well as mental stress responses and immune regulation in diseases. She has made major findings, such as how the immune system responds during anti-cancer therapy.

On April 29, Ma was honored with the 15th China Young Women in Science Fellowship award in Beijing, together with nine other female scientists for their pursuit of academic excellence, from medicine and biology to geosciences and space science.

“I think I’m lucky to win the award as there are many excellent female scientists in China. Thanks to the direction of my research on tumor immunity, it has recently become a hot topic that helped me win the award,” says Ma.

The 10 winners were selected from 224 candidates in 116 organizations nationwide.

Ma was the youngest winner this year.

More than 130 female scientists have been granted the award, organized by the All-China Women’s Federation, the China Association for Science and Technology, China’s National Commission for UNESCO and L’Oreal China since it was introduced 15 years ago.

Ma studied biotechnology at the College of Life Science and Technology of Huazhong University of Science and Technology from 2001 to 2004, during which she took all the elective courses and became fascinated by immunology.

Before her graduation, she turned down the opportunity to study abroad and an offer from a Fortune 500 company.

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