Celebrating Women's History Month

Feb 23, 2016

Category: stories

Celebrating Women's History Month

Noble Prize winner Rosalyn Yalow is considered one of the most influential women in science, but most of us have never heard of her work. Her life and accomplishments are example of the challenges faced by women in science careers, even in the 20th century. 

In her biography, Yalow remembers entering college and wanting to study physics. Her family thought it would be far more practical for her to become an elementary school teacher. Her professors thought her best entry into the tough field she was pursuing would be as a part-time secretary and requested her to take stenography. Fortunately fate had different plans and Yalow was offered a teaching assistantship in physics at the University of Illinois.

But what does physics have to do with blood donation? Yalow developed radioimmunoassay (RIA) which is used to detect and measure antigens in the body. RIA made it possible for laboratories to scan blood for infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and that made blood transfusions safer for everyone.

Since the safety of the blood supply is our top concern, OneBlood tests all donated blood before sending it out to local hospitals. If you want to learn more, you can watch our Journey of Your Blood video that shows what happens to your blood donation after it leaves our donor center or the Big Red Bus.

 

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