1904 - 1960

Vaccine development

Biochemist and bacteriologist Ruby Hirose was born in the U.S. from Japanese parents. Hirose studied pharmacy and pharmacology at the University of Washington and pursued her doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Cincinnati in 1932. After that, she continued her research in Ohio.

Hirose published on cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and bacteriology. Her studies on serums and antitoxins strongly contributed to the development of vaccines, including the polio vaccine. At the time, polio was responsible of infantile paralysis, and developing the vaccine was the crucial step towards the polio eradication.

In 1040, Hirose was one of the ten women recognised as members of the American Chemical Society, which had a total of 300 members.

During the World War II, people of Japanese heritage in the U.S. were sent to internment camps. Unlike her parents, Hirose escaped imprisonment by remaining in Ohio, away from Washington.

In 1960, Hirose died from leukaemia. Today, we thank her for the great contribution to science.

Written by: Enriqueta Vallejo-Yagüe.