Friday, September 22, 2017

Sister Miriam

From Aleteia:
Sister Miriam (December 24, 1913 – June 17, 2002) was an Adrian Dominican and a professor of chemistry at Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan. Her obituary notes:
“Her early success in chemistry, working on early research examining cells, led to an invitation to lecture at the Sorbonne in Paris. She was the second woman to lecture there; the first was Marie Curie. She later received international recognition for her early work with the spectroscope, a tool used for analyzing chemicals, and wrote manuals for using the instrument.”
Beyond that, Sister Miriam worked on wound-healing hormones, helping to create Preparation H. She established a research laboratory at Siena Heights in 1939, where she researched cancer for more than 30 years. Known at Siena as “M2,”Sister Miriam introduced undergraduate research and an addiction counseling program. Arguably, her most significant contribution in cancer research was her solution that unlocked the shape of DNA nucleobases. Jun Tsuji’s book The Soul of DNA records:
“For lack of knowledge of the DNA double helix, scientists were unable to understand the genetic roots of cancer, and subsequently they were unable to develop effective methods of treatment. In the early 1950s, scientists were on the verge of discovering the DNA double helix and unveiling cancer as a genetic disease. Stumped by the uncertainty regarding the shape of the DNA bases, the structural and functional “soul” of DNA, the male-dominated scientific establishment – from James Watson and Francis Crick to Linus Pauling – proposed models of DNA that were, in effect, inside out. In contrast, a woman, Sister Miriam Michael Stimson, OP, an Adrian Dominican sister and chemist, dared to imagine a solution to the DNA base problem. Using potassium bromide (KBr) to prepare the DNA bases for analysis by infrared spectroscopy, Sister Miriam Michael successfully developed a chemical method that affirmed the structure of the DNA bases and of the double helix itself.”
(Read more.)

1 comment:

julygirl said...

WOW. Impressive life as well as contributions to science. Thanks for letting us know about this amazing woman.