Ruth Kirschstein, a trusted advisor and long-time administrator at the National Institutes of Health who helped develop and refine safety tests of viral vaccines for diseases such as rubella, measles, and polio, died last night (Oct. 6) after “battling a long illness,” according to the NIH. In 1974, Kirschstein was the first woman to serve as director of an NIH institute — the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)– and served as acting NIH director on several occasions. She was 82.
(Via The Scientist)
This women is a lab name, mostly because it is in her honor that we have the Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA), a grant for young investigators of the graduate and post-doctoral variety. Almost every grad student I have ever known has applied for one of these awards, and many have received them. But until now, I never knew who she was. She is clearly an inspiration to an entire generation of scientists. This woman was responsible for many of the vaccine safety standards we enjoy today, most particularly the one used for Polio. This was one incredible women, and I hope that she will continue to affect generations of young scientists. She will be missed.