We live in a time where feminism and the fight for equality are at peak. For women in science, this battle is nothing new. Today marks a decade since a wonderful and prestigious woman scientist was born. Her name was Gertrude B. Elion and made science her vocation after her grandfather lost his battle with cancer.

After Elion earned her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry she had a hard time getting a job because as a woman she was not taken seriously. Lucky for her, upon receiving her master’s degree, WWII came into play and a lot of the male population was sent to fight. Now many people had no choice but to take these women seriously and that’s when she got a job as an analytical chemist for a food company. Bored and restless she switched to research and began to go to night classes to pursue her doctorate degree. Then she was forced to make a choice between finishing her degree full time or working.

She remained at her job and the rest is history. Her research paid off and she helped develop multiple drugs. Some include mercaptopurine, making life with leukemia possible, thioguanine, aids adults with leukemia, and co-developed azathioprine, which helps avoid organ rejection after kidney transplants. After these marvelous discoveries, she became the head of the

Department of Experimental Therapy and continued to design other drugs for malaria, UTI’s, kidney stones, herpes, and shingles. After retiring, she continued to work in the laboratory and oversaw the development of AZT, the first drug available to fight AIDS. Elion’s dedication and commitment to science is a great example and inspiration for women in the science field today. She may not have found a cure for her grandfather’s cancer but she improved the lives of so many people who had other conditions. That’s something to be proud of.

Based on the article: https://apple.news/AHeZH2CoITlGmGrTRguuurw

SOURCEPhoto: Academy of Achievement
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Michelle Montoya
Michelle is a biology major at Florida State University. She dreams of curing the world of all diseases through her contributions to science. Her grandfather inspired her to study medicine after his passing and she was able to gain a lot of experience in high school during her hospital shifts and ambulance rides for the EMT program that she took part in. Now in college, Michelle has been able to complete a virology research project while spending her free time volunteering and with many different clubs/organizations. Despite her busy schedule, she always finds time to make her friends laugh and spend time with her family.