Rosalyn Yalow

Rosalyn Yalow, PhD


Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, PhD, a nuclear physicist, was the first American-born woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. After graduating from Hunter College in 1941, she earned her PhD in 1945 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was the only woman among the department’s 400 members, and the first since 1917. In 1946 she returned to Hunter College to teach physics, but by 1950 decided to devote her attention full-time to research at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in the Bronx, NY. She worked with Solomon Berson, MD, to develop radioimmunoassay (RIA), for which she was awarded the Nobel Prize. RIA is used to measure small concentrations of substances in the body, such as hormones in the blood. Without this work, it would be impossible to diagnose various hormone-related conditions and endocrine diseases like type 1 diabetes.