Women in the Life Sciences

Mary Agnes Bonnevillemary1

Dr. Bonneville was born in Pittsfield MA. in 1931 and graduated from Smith College in 1953. She continued her studies in biology at Amherst college from1953-1955 where she was one of the few women studying for a master degree. In 1955, Dr Bonneville was nominated to be a graduate student at Rockefeller Institute. Both George Palade and Keith Porter  mentored her while she was at the Institute. In “Entering an Unseen World”, she writes,

“I was drawn to the Porter/Palade laboratory, but I didn’t really know how to become one of its members. Frank Brink, who was dean, realized I was having problems and put me in contact with Maria Rudzinska, who became my counselor and was a steadying influence in a sometimes rocky sea. With her help, and after a rather convoluted series of events, Porter agreed to take me into the laboratory.”

Dr. Bonneville was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University in 1961 as well as Tufts, and Harvard medical school. She was an assistant professor at Brown University and then joined the faculty at University of Colorado Boulder in 197. Mary established the Keith R. Porter Endowment for Cell Biology and conducted a series of TV interviews with: Keith Porter, George Palade, and Berta Scharrer. In the ’90s she became chair of the Committee on Women of the Boulder Faculty Assembly. Dr. Bonneville also served on the (Boulder) Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Women and as president of the University’s Retired Faculty Association (2001-2002).

Maria Rudzinska She was an emeritus professor of parasitology at Rockefeller University and used electron microscopy to study the malaria protozoa. Her research was instrumental in helping scientists find methods for treating malaria.

When Porter was at Harvard he worked with Susan Badenhausen. Badenhausen and Porter provided the images for Porter’s “Atlas, An Introduction to Fine Structure of Cells and Tissue published by in 1963 by Lee and Febiger. Dr. Bonneville wrote all the descriptions and suggested subjects to be included the book’s supplement. The book, An Introduction to Fine Structure of Cells and Tissue had three more editions in 1966,1968 and 1973.

 NOTE: It was as difficult to find detailed biographical information about Susan Badenhausen as it was to locate information about Mary Bonneville. I found Mary’s biographical information online in the form of her obituary and a short biographical sketch written by her retirement home. I found biographical information about Maria Rudzinska online also through her obituary published in the New York Times. She does not have a Wikipedia page.