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Leicester Special Collections

Pioneering Women


E.N. Miles Thomas and students in the Botany Laboratory, Fielding Johnson Building, University of Leicester.

Embedded within the University’s history is a legacy of pioneering women who through ground breaking research and a passion for their discipline, have contributed to the University’s role as an institution which supports research and enables discovery.

The following individuals are just a small selection of female staff members who can be identified as pioneers in their field:

  • Dr Joan Walker, pioneer in diabetic research and founder of the Leicester Diabetics Clinic


  • Dr Mariette Soman, established the School of German at the University College in 1933

  • Dr Winifred Tutin, a key figure in the University College’s Department of Botany during the mid-late 20th century. Both her research and her published repertoire have majorly influenced the standard of academic and scientific study at the University.


  • Dr E. N. Miles Thomas, was one of the first lecturers at the newly founded University College, working within the Department of Botany