• Anonymous says:
    Myeshia Minor :)

    Flossie Wong-Staal

    by My | 1 Comment

    My name is Myeshia Minor, and I’m doing a project on Flossie Wong-Staal for my FSEM 100 F8 Beauty and Brain-Women in the Sciences, at The University of Mary Washington.

    Flossie Wong-Staal is a Chinese-American virologist which is a scientist that studies viruses and their causes.  Her major accomplishment was being the first person to clone the immunodeficiency (HIV) virus.

    When looking over the list of scientist to chose from, I was automatically drawn to Flossie Wong-Staal. The main reason she caught my attention was because she was listed as an HIV pioneer. HIV is something that affects our country in such a negative way and causes hurt in so many lives. I respect her for dedicating time and effort to work on a cure that could potentially save so many people.

    She was born in 1947 as Yee Ching Wong in mainland China; however, in 1952 her family fled the Communists and settled in Hong Kong. Here, she was enrolled in Catholic school and was asked to change her name.  The school also chose science as her choice of study which is an area she fell in love with it. Math and science eventually became her two strongest subjects. In Flossi Wong-Staal’s family, she did not have any role models. All of the women in her family were full-time house wives and the majority of the men pursued jobs in business. Her family was very supportive of her and being a female considering a career in science wasn’t an issue for them.

    In 1965 Wong-Staal immigrated to the United States and studied at The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) to study molecular biolog. At UCLA she earned her bachelors degree, and she proceeded to graduate work as a research assistant. She attended The University of California at San Diego for all of her post graduate work. In the 1970’s, Wong-Staal took a position with the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. She worked with researcher Robert Gallo and was credited as the co-discover of HIV in 1985. Wong-Staal was specifically acknowledged as the first person to clone HIV which made testing for the virus available.

    Wong-Staal would definitely be a good role model for upcoming scientists because she personally didn’t have role models. She took it upon herself to pursue a career in science even when no one else in her family had done that before. She was actually asked in an interview, “What is your advice to undergraduates considering a career in medical research?” She replied, “You need to have a passion for making discoveries because this is the most rewarding aspect of a scientific career. But you also have to realize that if you chose this career, you’re in for a long haul. “Eureka moments are few and far between. So before deciding, it’s important to go into a research lab, both to get some experience with the scientific process and see the kind of work that’s required. It’s also helpful to expose yourself to the passion and enthusiasm of outstanding scientists, by attending seminars, for instance. In this way, you can get a glimpse of the dedication that science requires and also the satisfaction it can provide.”

    To view the full interview go to the link below



    The male scientist that I chose to research is Robert Gallo. I chose Gallo because he is also a virologist and one of the best known biomedical researchers. He also worked alongside Flossie Wong-Staal, and they were both co-discovers of HIV. Because he was her co-worker, he was the perfect similar male scientist.

    He was born in Waterbury, Connecticut on March 23, 1937 to Francis Anton and Louise Mary. He group up in a house that his Italian grandparents bought after they immigrated to the United States. His Father owned and worked at a welding company. Robert had one sibling, Judy, who died of childhood Leukemia. His sister’s death is what caused him to want to pursue a career in biomedical research. Robert studied at Providence College, Jefferson Medical College, and The University of Chicago. He then pursued a career at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD. Here at the National Institute of Health, Robert and Flossie were acknowledged as the co-discovers of HIV.  And Robert was soon appointed to the head of the Tumor Cell Biology Laboratory.

    Even though Flossie and Robert worked alongside each other they had some differences in their careers. Robert Gallo was born in 1937 which gives the two about a ten year age difference because Flossie was born in ’47. He had more education than she did and more publications as well. Robert Gallo published more than 1,100 scientific publications. I believe that their age difference and work ethic had more to do with their promotions than gender. He was promoted to head of the Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology over Flossie because he was more qualified for the position. Gender played no role in the promotions of these two scientist.

    For this project I researched information on The Association for Women in Science or AWIS. This organization was founded at the annual meeting of the Federation of American societies for experimental biology in 1971. It’s the nation’s largest multi-disciplinary organization in science, technology, engineering, and math. As far as the primary mission, AWIS is a national advocacy organization that campaigns the interest of women in science, technology, engineering, and math across all disciplines, and employment sectors, by breaking down barriers and creating opportunities.

    I believe Flossie Wong-Staal would belong to this organization because first of all it’s about science, and she encouraged people to pursue a career in this field. I also believe that she would like this organization because it strives to ensure that women reach their full potential.

     Annotated Bibliography Flossie Wong-Staal

    “About AWIS.” Association of Women in Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.

    “An Interview with Flossie Wong-Staal.” Pearson. N.p., 2011. Web. 8 Sept. 2011.

    “Association for Women in Science.” Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.

    This source has an interview with Flossie-Wong-Staal. It’s useful because one can relate to what she actually has to say instead of listening to a middleman. She speaks on what led her to retroviruses and why there isn’t a cure for AIDS yet. She also gives advice to medical students hoping to pursue a career in medical research.

    “Basic Facts About HIV/AIDS.” amfAR AIDS Research. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept.
    2011. <http://www.amfar.org/abouthiv/article.aspx?id=3352>.

    This source is very useful to people who want to know more about HIV. It mentions how it’s transmitted from person to person and how it can be prevented. It states that there are 30 million people infected with HIV today, but some haven’t experienced any symptoms. This website also gives one information on how one can get tested.

    “Flossie Wong-Staal.” Gale Cengage Learning. U X L Biographies, 1996. Web. 8
    Sept. 2011. http://www.gale.cengage.com/free_resources/whm/bio/

    The biography from this source stated many useful facts about Flossie Wong-Staal and touched on a few broad topics. It starts off by crediting her for her accomplishments and acknowledging her for being the first researcher to clone the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Because Wong-Staal cloned the virus, this allowed her and her colleagues to discover the structure behind it. In this source, there is also information about her childhood and brief facts about her family. This source mentions how she became involved with AIDS research and her vision for a cure.

    Flossie Wong Staal Heritage Awards Keynote. You Tube. N.p., 6 Apr. 2008. Web. 8
    Sept. 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVIlIM5J42A>.

    This video clip is a perfect example of a primary source because it has Flossie Wong-Staal giving a speech at the Heritage Awards in Keynote. She speaks about her time at UCLA and her studies; however, the video does have pictures that are irrelevant to the speech.

    Gallo, Robert C. (1937- ).World of Microbiology and Immunology. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. 23 Oct. 2011 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

    “Gallo, Robert C.” The International Who’s Who 2010. 73rd ed. 2010. Print.

    Lackner, Andrew A, and Ronald S Veazy. “Current Concepts in AIDS Pathogenesis:
    Insights from the SIV/Macaque Model.” Medicine 58 (Feb. 2007): 461-476.
    Annual Reviews . Web. 8 Sept. 2011. <http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/

    This journal doesn’t necessarily pertain to Wong-Staal herself; however, it does give a lot of information on the AIDS, HIV, SIV, and transmission of the viruses. The only con about this journal entry is that it goes into so much detail that it would probably be difficult to pertain all of the information in a short period of time. But there are charts and diagrams that help along the way to understand the different concepts introduced.

    Oakes, Elizabeth H. “Wong-Staal, Flossie.” Encyclopedia of World Scientists .
    2001. Print.

    This reference is useful because it points out the main points in her life early on. It doesn’t talk about information that is irrelevant to her success. It briefly mentions her childhood and what actions her family took when communists took over the Chinese government. It immediately states that she was told to study science in school and that’s the field that she stayed with because she actually enjoyed it.

    “Robert Gallo.” Wikipedia . N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2011.

    “Robert C. Gallo Biography(1937-).” faqs.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2011.

    Salahudan, Zaki, et al. “Isolation of a New Virus, HBLV, in Patients with
    Lymphoproliferative Disorders.” Science 234.4776 (1986): 594-601.
    American Association for the Advancement of Science . Web. 8 Sept. 2011.

    This is actually a great source for someone who needs primary information from Wong-Staal herself. There are also other scientists collaborating with her on this journal as well. It talks about the isolation of a new virus, human B-lymphotropic virus (HBLV), in patients with lymphoproliferative disorders. It’s basically a lymphoid tissue disease. There are also photos of the lab work and data that was found as well.


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    My Scientist

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    My scientist is Flossie Wang-Staal (1947-)- HIV Virus Pioneer