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Florence Rena Sabin (1871–1953)

Author of Franklin Paine Mall, the story of a mind

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Florence Sabin was a pioneer among women in science and medicine in the USA. She was the first woman to graduate from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She did an internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital under the famous physician Sir William Osler. She won the attention of the renowned head of the Department of Anatomy, Franklin P. Mall, who mentored her and helped her become involved in two projects that would build her a solid research reputation. One of these was a three-dimensional model of a newborn's brainstem, which became the basis of a widely-used textbook, "An Atlas of the Medulla and Midbrain," published in 1901. In 1902, she became the first woman on the faculty of Johns Hopkins, teaching anatomy, embryology and histology and in 1917 was the first woman named a full professor there -- or at any other medical college. In 1924, she was the first woman elected to lifetime membership in the National Academy of Sciences. The following year, she became head of the Department of Cellular Studies at the Rockefeller Institute, where her research focused on the lymphatic system, blood vessels and cells, and tuberculosis. She was the niece of the virologist Albert R. Sabin.
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