Women’s History Month Spotlight: Rosalyn Yalow

Big Molecule Watch honors Women’s History Month by recognizing the women who have contributed to the advancement of biologics and biosimilars.  We highlight one such individual, Rosalyn Yalow, who received a Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1977 for her work on radioimmunoassay.  Dr. Yalow, together with her research partner, Solomon Berson, developed the technique for using radioactive isotopes to quantify minute amounts of biological or pharmacological substances in the body, such as proteins, hormones, drugs, vitamins, enzymes, viruses, and other chemicals.  Their breakthrough discovery transformed how many diseases and conditions can be diagnosed and treated, and, in particular, advanced the understanding and treatment of diabetes. By making possible the measurement of antibodies produced by the immune system, their radioimmunoassay technique has revolutionized biological and medical research.

During her speech at the Nobel Banquet more than forty years ago, Dr. Yalow shared some inspiring words: “We cannot expect in the immediate future that all women who seek it will achieve full equality of opportunity.  But if women are to start moving toward that goal, we must believe in ourselves or no one else will believe in us; we must match our aspirations with the competence, courage and determination to succeed, and we must feel a personal responsibility to ease the path for those who come after us.  The world cannot afford the loss of the talents of half its people if we are to solve the many problems that beset us.”