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Pakistani-Origin Asifa Becomes First Woman To Lead German Science Society’s Section

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A Pakistani-origin scientist Asifa Akhtar has been appointed as the first ever international female vice president of the biology and medicine section at the prestigious Max Planck Society.

During her work responsibilities, Akhtar will look after the different institutes of the section, while also serving as the contact person for the Max Planck Schools, Dawn reported.

The organisation is known as the most successful research organisation in Germany. It has produced 18 Nobel laureates since its establishment in 1948, emerging at par with the best and research institutions globally.

In her new capacity, the Pakistani-origin scientist has vowed to advance the issue of gender equality. “There are outstanding women in science and we should make all the efforts and use our resources to win them for the Max Planck Society,” she was quoted as saying.

Akhtar was born in Karachi and obtained her doctorate from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, UK, in 1997. Afterwards, she moved to Germany and earned her place as a Postdoctoral fellow at European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and the Adolf-Butenandt-Institute in Munich from 1998 to 2001.

She is the winner of the Early Career European Life Science Organisation Award in 2008, EMBO membership in 2013, and the Feldberg Prize in 2017. The scientist also served as member of the National Academy of Science Leopoldina in 2019.

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Naya Daur