Barbie models doll on scientist who helped develop AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

Professor Sarah Gilbert hopes the doll will inspire more girls to consider a career in science

British coronavirus vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert has many science accolades to her credit and now she shares an honour with Beyonce, Marilyn Monroe and Eleanor Roosevelt: a Barbie doll in her likeness.

Gilbert, 59, a professor at the University of Oxford and co-developer of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, is one of six women in the Covid-19 fight who have had Barbies modelled after them.

Toy maker Mattel is recognising their vital work over the past 18 months with a line of Barbie "role model" dolls.

Gilbert's Barbie shares her long auburn hair and thick-rimmed black glasses, and she wears a navy blue pantsuit and white blouse.

"It's a very strange concept having a Barbie doll created in my likeness," Gilbert said in an interview for Mattel.

"I hope it will be part of making it more normal for girls to think about careers in science."

Among the others having dolls fashioned after them are emergency room nurse Amy O'Sullivan, who treated the first Covid-19 patient at the Wyckoff Heights Medical Centre in Brooklyn, New York, and Dr Audrey Cruz, frontline doctor in Las Vegas who fought discrimination, according to Mattel.

There's also Chika Stacy Oriuwa, a Canadian psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto who battled systemic racism in healthcare, and Brazilian biomedical researcher Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, who led sequencing of the genome of a Covid-19 variant in Brazil, the company said.

Lastly, one of the new dolls honours Dr Kirby White, an Australian doctor who pioneered a surgical gown that can be washed and reused by frontline workers.

Gilbert chose the non-profit organisation Wise (Women in Science & Engineering), dedicated to inspiring girls to consider a career in Stem fields, to receive a financial donation from the toy maker.

Updated: August 4th 2021, 1:38 PM
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