In honour of International Women in Science Day, here are a few amazing women who made incredible scientific advancements and changed the medical industry (and the world!) forever!
Elizabeth Blackburn is an Australian-American
biologist. Her most famous contribution to genetics and biology was her
discovery of telomere’s molecular nature. What on earth is a telomere you ask?
It’s a compound structure at the end of a chromosome, in other words, it acts
as a protective cover to preserve our genetic information. Blackburn found that
If a telomere was short, it was an indication of illness. Her findings provided
doctors with a chance to intercept and feasibly prevent such illness or disease.
Blackburn’s discovery awarded her the Nobel prize in 2009 and was instrumental
in encouraging her further studies on mental and emotional stress and its
influence on cells and ageing.
Rosalyn Yalow was an American Nuclear Physicist and in 1921, became the second woman to win a Nobel prize in medicine. She was the cofounder of radioimmunoassay (RIA), a method that uses radioactive isotopes to measure countless substances, rapidly and very accurately. For example, hormones can be measured in the blood. By infusing radioactive iodine into an individual’s blood, Yalow and Soloman Berson, a fellow American Physician, found that type 2 diabetes is caused by the body’s incompetent use if insulin. Prior to this discovery, the disease was thought to be triggered by a lack of insulin.
Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive an
M.D. degree from an American medical school in 1849. She was also the founder
of the first infirmary that was managed by only women. The infirmary
specialised in caring for the less fortunate and providing medical training for
female doctors. In the 1800s, female doctors were referred to as ‘physicians’,
they were never referred to as doctors. She helped pave the way for future
women to be accepted as equal in the medical industry.
In 1951, Franklin began working as a research associate at the King’s College London. It was from here that herself, along with her student, Raymond Gosling, attained crucial evidence in identifying the structure of DNA. This was done through taking an image of DNA, famously known as ‘Photograph 51’. This photograph was used by Crick and Watson in developing their now famous model of DNA. They are now credited for identifying the correct structure of DNA, unfortunately without much acknowledgement of Franklin’s fundamental contribution.
13 Feb 2018