Disability in Research: Emily May Armstrong

I speak so openly about being a disabled woman in science because, well, I’m a disabled woman in science. There’s virtually none of us out there and speaking about it. We are invisible, imaginary, and crossing multiple intersections with very little for it. Disabled people, as a whole, are hidden away. How many disabled doctors, manicurists, teachers, dog walkers do you know of? Probably very few.”

Emily May Armstrong is a PhD student at the University of Glasgow working on how roots respond to salt stress. She’s also living with a genetic disease called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), “a cluster of untreatable connective tissue disorders which cause chronic pain, dislocations, transient blood loss, and lack of co-ordination.”

Emily blogs about her research and her experiences as a scientist living with a disability in her blog, The Radical Botanical. She has also created a video sharing advice about how labs and protocols, designed by able-bodied people, can be adjusted to accommodate scientists with disabilities. As Emily points out, “If your lab is accessible for disabled people, it’s almost 100% going to be accessible for every other lab member.”