Gertrude Elion

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Gertrude Elion

Pharmacologist and Biochemist, Lived from January 23, 1918 to February 21, 1999

Training: Gertrude graduated from Hunter College in 1937 and received her Masters degree from New York University in 1941. She was unable to obtain a graduate research position so she worked as a lab assistant and high school teacher. Later, she worked as a lab assistant to George Hitchings at a pharmaceutical company.

400mattersAccomplishments: Gertrude developed many new drugs during her research that led to the development of the AIDS drug, AZT. She also invented drugs used to help cancer patients, organ transplant patients, people with gout and even malaria! Instead of using a trial-and-error method, Mary and George used the differences between normal cells and pathogens, which are diseased cells, to make drugs that could kill these diseases! They received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1988!

Fun Fact: Although Gertrude never formally earned a PhD, she received an honorary PhD from Polytechnic University of New York in 1989 and a Doctor of Science degree from Harvard University in 1998!

Read more about her career! Biochemist, Pharmacologist, Researcher