Mattel honors Jaqueline Góes de Jesus, a biomedical researcher, with a Barbie doll; the Brazilian helped to sequence the coronavirus DNA
By Marques Travae
Jaqueline Góes de Jesus, a Brazilian biomedical researcher, was one of the scientists awarded by Mattel with a Barbie doll for her work on the Covid-19 research.
Jaqueline coordinated the team responsible for the genetic sequencing of the coronavirus in a period of just 48 hours after the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Brazil. The global average is for this sequencing is 15 days.
Five other scientists were also honored, including Sarah Gilbert of the United Kingdom, who led the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
They’ll all be part of the “Barbie Role Models” series, which seeks to inspire youngsters all over the world to dream big and achieve anything they want in life. The campaign also which recently paid tribute to tennis champion Naomi Osaka.
The doll was created with Dr. Jaqueline’s input and approval throughout the process, and while it is an exclusive, unfortunately, it will not be for sale. With the vast underrepresentation of black dolls available on Brazil’s toy market, one has to wonder who made that decision.
Jaqueline has had already had a great career in biomedicine at the age of 31. Before her involvement with sequencing coronavirus, she was part of the team that sequenced the genome of the zika virus that struck Brazil in 2015.
“As a scientist, a woman, and a black woman, being honored by Barbie and becoming a role model for new generations is proving that through opportunities, talent and intelligence can reach and even generate positive fruits for a nation,” says the biomedical doctor. Gomes also emphasized the devotion and commitment shown by all healthcare professionals on the frontline in the fight against the pandemic. “Children imagine they can be anything they want, but seeing what they can become, listening to other people’s trajectories and recognizing themselves in them makes all the difference.”
Originally from Bahia’s capital city of Salvador, Gomes is the daughter of a nurse and a civil engineer. She is a Fapesp (Fundaço de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) research fellow at the Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo of the University of São Paulo.