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May 16, 2017 AT 2:30 am

Ruby Hirose #AsianPacificAmericanHeritageMonth

Adafruit asian pacific american heritage month hero copy

Today we celebrate bacteriologist and biochemist Ruby Hirose, who was born to Japanese parents in Washington state in 1904. Hirose made many contributions to her field, specifically in the area of infantile paralysis. During WWII, she worked at the Kettering Laboratory of Applied Physiology at the University of Cincinnat while her family was imprisoned at internment camps out west.

From the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

SIA SIA2008 3224

Biochemist and bacteriologist Ruby Hirose researched serums and antitoxins at the William S. Merrell Laboratories. In 1940, Hirose was among ten women recognized by the American Chemical Society for accomplishments in chemistry, and later made major contributions to the development of vaccines against infantile paralysis. The original caption to this photograph read: “A hay fever sufferer herself, Dr. R. Hirose, American-born Japanese girl scientist on the research staff of the Wm. S. Merrell biological laboratories, has found a way to improve the pollen extracts used to ædesensitizeŒ hay fever sufferers. … The idea of treating the pollen with alum to increase its effectiveness developed while Dr. Hirose was working on alum-precipitated toxoid for protection against diphtheria.

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