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Profile of the Day: Florence R. Sabin

On this day in 1871, anatomist and medical researcher Florence R. Sabin was born. A pioneer for women in science, Sabin made breakthroughs on the lymphatic system and was the first woman to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Image: Florence R. Sabin / Smithsonian Institution

Sabin was born on November 8, 1871 in Central City, Colorado to George K. Sabin, a mining engineer, and Serena Miner, a schoolteacher. After the death of her mother, Sabin and her sister Mary were sent to live with their uncle, Albert, and later with their paternal grandparents in Vermont.

In 1896, she enrolled in Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and was one of fourteen women in her class. As a student, she demonstrated a gift for laboratory work and found a mentor in her anatomy professor, Franklin Mall. Through Mall’s encouragement, Sabin pursued studies that would become the foundation to her future research and legacy. She created a three-dimensional model of a newborn’s brain stem which became the focus of the textbook, An Atlas of the Medulla and Midbrain. She also researched the embryological development of the lymphatic system and found that the lymphatic vessels developed from the embryo’s veins.

Sabin would go on to become the first woman to hold a full professorship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her groundbreaking research on the origins of blood vessels earned her membership in the National Academy of Science in 1925, becoming the first woman to gain membership to the prestigious organization. That same year she became the head of the Department of Cellular Studies at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. Her research focused on the lymphatic system, blood vessels and cells, and tuberculosis. Sabin retired in 1938 and moved back to Colorado. Her retirement did not last long. A few years later, she began yet another successful career as a public health official for the state.

Sabin died on October 3, 1953 at the age of 81.

Explore Florence R. Sabin’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re connected to the pioneering scientist.

View Florence R. Sabin’s Geni Profile

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The post Profile of the Day: Florence R. Sabin first appeared on The Geni Blog.


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