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Gertrude Belle Elion National Medal of Science Awarded In 1991

Gertrude Belle Elion

Gertrude Belle Elion

Award Name : National Medal of Science

Year of Award : 1991

Award for : Chemistry

Location : New York City, New York, United States


Gertrude Belle Elion was an American biochemist and pharmacologist. Elion was born on January 23, 1918, in New York City. She graduated from Hunter College in New York City with a degree in biochemistry in 1937. Unable to obtain a graduate research position because she was a woman, she found work as a lab assistant at the New York Hospital School of Nursing (1937), an assistant organic chemist at the Denver Chemical Manufacturing Company (1938–39), a chemistry and physics teacher in New York City high schools (1940–42), and a research chemist at Johnson & Johnson (1943–44). During this time she also took classes at New York University (M.S., 1941). Unable to devote herself to full-time studies, Elion never received a Ph.D. Though Elion officially retired in 1983, she helped oversee the development of azidothymidine (AZT), the first drug used in the treatment of AIDS. In 1991 she was awarded a National Medal of Science and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.


National Medal of Science Awardeds