Saturday, March 10, 2012

March - Celebrating Women's History Month

Thanks to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund for spreading the news that March is Women's History Month. It is a good time to share the story of a pioneering woman of science - Rosalind Franklin - a brilliant, young British biophysicist whose x-ray diffraction photos and research uncovered the structure of DNA -  double-helix shape. Franklin did not share in the Noble Prize awarded to those who used her research, as she died of ovarian cancer in 1958. This most important advancement in modern biology was not the only contribution as Dr. Franklin also spearhead pioneering work on the tobacco mosaic and polio viruses. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 35, Dr. Franklin was a tireless champion continuing to work through the next two years until her death, through three operations and experimental chemotherapy. Although her work as an x-ray crystallographer exposed her to continual doses of radiation, it is possible that Dr. Franklin's had a genetic pre-disposition to ovarian cancer commonly found among those of Ashkenazi Jew heritage. Celebrate another Courageous Fighter.

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