Research isn’t just a collection of numbers and facts.
It’s a reflection of the communities we serve.

At the Population Council, our commitment to quality evidence is enhanced by our understanding that research to improve women’s lives should be driven by those who understand their needs and perspectives. We have a rich, diverse body of researchers who are conducting innovative, important research to improve programs, policies, and technologies around the world. We identify critical trends and issues, develop solutions, and demonstrate what works to better women’s lives, the lives of their families, and their communities.

Without these fearless women, our research would not be as responsive to the communities we serve or as informative to the policymakers and programmers who need evidence to make decisions. Population Council researchers are helping deliver positive change every day, learning from and influencing the lives of people around the world.

Click to learn more about Population Council’s leading women in science below:

My work on sexual and gender-based violence has helped children disclose their experiences of sexual violence, and has also helped them talk to their parents about it. And that’s also helped parents cope with the reality and recognize their children need care.
— Chi-Chi Undie


Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Kenya

I’m a researcher at heart. I want to help contribute to the field to be able to answer these key questions about how to improve relations between men and women and address gender equity so that we can get to better health and developmental outcomes.
— Julie Pulerwitz



I didn’t know right away I wanted to be a researcher, initially I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. But coming from a family of researchers, it was always on the table. It took me a little while to get there, but I got to lead my own path.
— Aparna Jain


Family Planning, USA

I began my journey studying medicine and becoming a doctor. That’s really where I was grounded in my desire to understand public health, to do research in order to answer the bigger questions that lay ahead.
— Laili Irani


Maternal and Newborn Health, India

When I began my career, there were few contraceptive choices for women. We know that not every [contraceptive] method is for every woman and that contraceptive needs change over time. We need [more methods] and a mix that women can select and work for them.
— Ruth Merkatz


Family Planning, Ghana

It’s the lived experience that makes one closer to what’s happening on the ground. And the biography that we live everyday influences what we do. And that’s why I’m saying that we are lucky to have that layer of the lived experience, one, but also the academic legitimacy that we have to put it on top to be able to have that voice amplified.
— Dela Nai


FGM/C Research Program, Kenya

I am in this work because I am very interested in doing my part with regards to addressing what are fundamental gender inequalities that we find everywhere. For me, it’s about the need to think about how do we address what are essentially unequal outcomes for women and girls across many societies.
— Jacinta Muteshi-Strachan


Maternal and Newborn Health, USA

My experience as a nurse and working in humanitarian and development settings – where you have facilities with no running water, no equipment –brings a grounded perspective to the research.
— Charlotte Warren


Family Planning, USA

When I do research nobody needs to explain to me what poverty is. I intuitively know it, because I’ve lived it, I’ve smelled it, I can feel it.
— Saumya RamaRao


Clinical Development, USA

I decided to become an anthropologist with the goal of using my research…I have always thought about my work in terms of advocacy, in terms of how I can inform programs to be culturally sensitive, to be respectful of people, and to be inclusive.
— Alejandra Colom


Adolescent Girls’ Empowerment, Guatemala

I come from a background where there’s many forms and lots of violence, substance abuse, alcoholism, unresolved and unspoken grief…As a Cherokee Nation citizen, that was sort of what my background entailed, and I think working internationally was a way for me to escape that. But with the international experience I’ve gained working at the Population Council, I started to really reflect on what’s going on here at home.
— Kelly Hallman


Adolescent Girls’ Empowerment, USA

I found that the biggest impact on HIV could be made by new discoveries. And that’s in particular why I focus on basic science. Because it’s the very beginning of the new discoveries that will have impact later on.
— Nina Derby


HIV Immunologist, USA

I really wanted to do research that really had an impact on people’s lives. And I think the Population Council is the place that does that in Pakistan. We’ve tried our best to maintain those very high standards. Then the government and other partners really listen to what we have to say.
— Zeba Sathar


Family Planning, Pakistan