10 Outstanding Women in Medicine and Physiology

Traditionally, women have been minorities in the fields of Medicine and Human Anatomy/Physiology, but these female role models have broken the stereotypes. Many of them faced obstacles in medical education due to their gender, and some further faced discrimination due to their religious background. Some of them did not receive full credit for their scientific achievements, and their male colleagues ended up gaining the fame they deserved. Regardless, we’d like to invite you to take a moment to honor these women who helped advance medicine to new heights, and encourage young women with an interest in science to pursue similar goals.

Though Watson and Crick are the first scientists associated with DNA molecular research, it was Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) who paved the way for that achievement. Rosalind developed x-ray diffraction techniques that provided vital clues to the structure of DNA. Watson and Crick later used some of her research to help prove the double helix structure of DNA, one of the most noteworthy achievements in medical science in the 20th century. Read moreCasualty Simulation Patient Care Training Model EMT

We now understand more about healing bone fractures thanks to Anita B Roberts (1942-2006), an American molecular biologist. Anita’s research focused on the protein TGF-β. She extracted this protein from human placenta tissue as well as blood platelets, and compared them with kidney tissue from cows to learn about growth factors that help heal our wounds. Anita also helped discover that this protein can encourage the growth of some advanced cancers such as of the breast and lung, while blocking the growth of many other cancers. Read more

If you know a patient with leukemia or another medical condition, thank Gertrude B. Elion (1918-1999), who invented several drugs to fight infections. She developed zovirax to fight herpes infections, zyloprim to battle gout, and purinethol, one of the first drugs to combat against leukemia. Before her invention of Imuran, which prevents a human’s immune system from battling foreign tissues, kidney transplants exchanged between non-family members were seldom successful. Read more

GeneticMedical anatomy education chart of leukemia translocation of leukemia was discovered by medical doctor Janet Rowley (1925-). Janet studied chromosomes of leukemia patients, and noticed how the genetic materials exchanges between chromosomes to advance leukemia. These findings were applied to other diseases that greatly expanded medical understanding of genetic communication in the human body. Read more

One of the recipients of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine was Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909-), who co-discovered a protein called the NGF, the nerve growth factor. The NGF is stimulates nerve tissue to promotes growth among developing cells. The implications of this research led to a better anatomical understanding of cell/organ growth, which in turn helped medical scientists understand various forms of cancer and neurological conditions such as Parkinson ’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Read more

Progress on the study of protein folding was and is still being achieved by Susan Lindquist (1949-), a molecular biologist. Susan’s studies demonstrated that protein conformations. Using yeast models, she and her colleagues have observed the mechanism of a protein-only inheritance. Furthermore, she has contributed to a greater understanding of amyloid fiber formation. Read more

The term “organizer” in embryology comes from Hilde Mangold (1898-1924). Hilde anatomical development of embryo for medical understandingstudied physiology of amphibians, and manipulated hundreds of embryos to discover that when she transplanted embryos of two species of amphibians, some of her test subjects developed second heads, spinals cords, and even brains! Read more

The study of a breast and ovarian cancer gene on chromosome 17q21, carried out by Mary-Claire King (1946-), led to a greater understanding of various other genetic diseases in the medical community. She has subsequently used complex experimental and bioinformatics genomic tools to aid the study of inherited medical conditions. Read more

Countless newborn lives are saved day in and day out thanks to physician Virginia Apgar (1909-1974), who had developed the Apgar score. This checks a newborn baby’s respiration, muscle tone, reflexes, and pulse, thereby ensuring its health efficiently. Before this invention, birth complications often killed or enfeebled babies. She was also the first female board certified anesthesiologist in medical history. Read more

Last but not least, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was a crystallographer who discovered the structure of insulin, vitamin B12, and the especially complicated structure of penicillin. Her medical discovery helped scientists develop semisynthetic penicillins that impeded the growth of various bacteria, thereby saving countless lives. She accomplished all this despite being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 24. Read more

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