Ben A. Barres was an American neurobiologist at Stanford University. He became the first openly transgender scientist in the National Academy of Sciences in 2013, Via Nature
An unstoppable force of nature, unfazed by headwinds, managing to will all of us onwards and upwards: this was Ben Barres. A highly influential neurobiologist and advocate for women in science, Barres lived an unusually interesting life. He was an openly transgender faculty member at Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and a pioneer in understanding the functions of glia — the most abundant and mysterious cells in the brain. Whether by design or accident, along the way he also became a hero for people from gender and sexual minorities (LGBT+ people), and for early-career scientists generally.
In 2017, Barres died of cancer at the age of 63. His posthumously published memoir, The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist, documents his remarkable life story.
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