Skip to main content
NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Innovators Immortalized in Acrylic Gel

STEM Statues Installed at NIH to Mark Clinical Center’s 70th Anniversary

Jones stands next to an orange statue of her likeness

NIH Scientific Research Officer Dr. Lataisia Jones stands next to her statue at the Smithsonian in March 2022.

Dr. Gamble-George

Dr. Joyonna Gamble-George

Dr. Taaffe

Dr. Jessica Taaffe

Orange statues in a courtyard
Gamble-George orange statue

Dr. Joyonna Gamble-George

An orange statue

This summer, it may seem as though art has come to life in celebration of the Clinical Center’s 70th anniversary. Now through Aug. 25, the hospital is hosting 10 statues from #IfThenSheCan—The Exhibit. These 3-D printed, life-size statues feature women innovators in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). And several have ties to NIH.

The IF/THEN project seeks to further advance women in STEM by highlighting successful female professional role models. 

The exhibit is available to NIH courtesy of Lyda Hill Philanthropies and is on display in the Clinical Center atrium and east courtyard/Healing Gardens. The CC Office of Communications and Media Relations selected the project as a natural tie to the unique research and care environment of the Clinical Center.

Women constitute half of the college-educated workforce but make up just 25% of the STEM industry. The exhibit showcases accomplished STEM role models whose stories can serve as proof that gender is no barrier to any career.

Featured statues represent women who study geologic hazards, work on interstellar travel and nuclear engineering and assess genetic risk factors for lupus and cancer—and that’s just for starters. 

Among statues visiting the CC are three with NIH connections:

Dr. Joyonna Gamble-George, a neuroscientist in the All of Us Biomedical Researcher Scholars Program at Baylor College of Medicine, is looking at prescription opioid misuse, heart failure and genetic risk factors involved in inflammation in systemic lupus erythematosus using All of Us research datasets. A former AAAS fellow in the Center for Translation and Implementation Science at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, she has more than a decade of research expertise in the area of Alzheimer’s disease pathology, anxiety and stress-related disorders, neurotoxicity, drug addiction and therapeutics.

Dr. Lataisia Jones, a scientific research officer in the Scientific Review Branch at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from the department of biomedical sciences at Florida State University, where she studied cellular division, diabetes and brain development. Jones started a program, “Young Scientist Wednesdays,” using fun activities like sculpting and DNA extraction to teach science to kids at Children’s National Hospital. 

Dr. Jessica Taaffe, a microbiologist who worked as a postdoc in Dr. Patrick Duffy’s Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is a World Bank consultant, providing evidence on how to improve HIV programs to global policymakers. She has written HIV reports for the United Nations.

The full exhibit features 120 statues of female innovators. Each subject stood in a scanning booth that combined 89 cameras and 25 projectors to generate a 3-D image. To print the image, a special machine slowly built up layers of acrylic gel. Creating the full-sized 3D-printed human figure took 10 or more hours. For details, visit—Donovan Kuehn

Back to Top