Dr. Flossie Wong-Staal was known for her groundbreaking research on HIV as the causes of AIDS during her career as a molecular biologist. During her studies, Dr. Wong-Staal became interested in retroviruses and their ability to be potential pathogens causing human diseases. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology and afterwards she went on to acquire her PhD in molecular biology from UCLA. With a team at the US National Cancer Institute, Dr. Wong-Staal was able to artificially recreate HIV and map out its complex structure, hypothesizing that HIV was in fact the primary cause of AIDS. This discovery later led to a “cocktail” therapy to be used to treat those with AIDS. Dr. Wong-Staal published over 400 papers based on her work and was selected by the Institute for Scientific Information as the top woman scientist of her time. Over the course of her career, she mentored students and other young scientists who wished to pursue molecular biology.
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