Courtesy of Corbis-Bettmann

Gertrude Belle Elion 1918-1999

Biochemist Gertrude Belle Elion's research led to drugs that doctors commonly use to treat angina, high blood pressure, ulcers, leukemia, gout, and infectious diseases. She began her career in the 1940s, when women had few opportunities to conduct cutting-edge research. At Burroughs Wellcome Laboratories, she helped develop a drug that made some forms of leukemia treatable. Later, she formulated drugs to treat autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and infectious diseases such as herpes and malaria. In 1988, Elion shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discoveries regarding drug treatment.