Florence Rena Sabin was the first woman to obtain a full professorship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1902. She was one of the first female medical doctors to build a career as a researcher, focusing her work on embryology and histolology. Sabin was also the first woman elected president of the American Association of Anatomists and the first woman elected to membership of the National Academy of Sciences.
According to a National Institutes of Health profile of Sabin, her work “overturned the traditional explanation of the development of the lymphatic system by proving that it developed from the veins in the embryo and grew out into tissues, and not the other way around.”
During her quest to obtain a medical degree, NIH writes, her family was too poor to pay her way, so “[t]o earn her medical school tuition, she taught mathematics at a Denver secondary school for two years, and taught zoology at Smith College for a year. She entered Johns Hopkins in 1896, one of fourteen women in a class of forty-five.”
Photos: NIH, Smith College