An improbable journey: Creativity helped me make the transition from art to curing malaria

J Biol Chem. 2019 Jan 11;294(2):405-409. doi: 10.1074/jbc.AW118.005229. Epub 2018 Nov 6.


I was recently awarded the Alice and C. C. Wang Award in Molecular Parasitology for my contributions to antimalarial drug development, including laying the groundbreaking work that has led to two new molecular methods for curing malaria. This award means a great deal to me because I have spent much of my scientific career feeling like an imposter-one with the wrong sort of background and poor credentials. I am grateful for the recognition, and I am beginning to recognize that having an atypical background can be an advantage because it gives you a different perspective on a challenge. More generally, diversity in educational and cultural backgrounds is important because it can stimulate new ways of thinking and discovery.

Keywords: Plasmodium; career choices; chemical biology; diversity in science; drug development; education; genomics; imposter syndrome; malaria; microbiology.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Art / history*
  • Creativity
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Malaria / drug therapy
  • Malaria / history*
  • Malaria / parasitology
  • Parasitology / history*
  • Plasmodium / drug effects
  • Plasmodium / genetics
  • Plasmodium / growth & development
  • Plasmodium / physiology


  • Antimalarials

Personal name as subject

  • Elizabeth A Winzeler