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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Accomplished Women: National Academies Honor NIH’ers

Dr. Elizabeth Neufeld

Dr. Elizabeth Neufeld became chief of NIDDK’s Genetics and Biochemistry Branch in 1979 and served as deputy director of intramural research, 1981-1983.

A black & white photo of Riley in front of bookshelf

Sociologist Dr. Matilda White Riley joined NIA in 1979 and was recognized for developing a multidisciplinary plan for aging research that integrated societal structures and biological sciences.

Dr. Maxine Singer holds test tube vials in the lab

Dr. Maxine Singer, an authority on nucleic acids and former chief of NCI’s Laboratory of Biochemistry, also helped break the genetic code.

Dr. Ruth Kirschstein

Dr. Ruth Kirschstein was the first female NIH institute director, heading NIGMS from 1974 to 1993, and twice served as acting NIH director.

Dr. Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz surrounded by lab and computer equipment

Dr. Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, chief of the section on organelle biology in NICHD’s Cell Biology and Metabolism Program, uses live-cell imaging techniques to study molecular interactions in cells.

Dr. Nora Volkow

NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow has demonstrated that addiction is a disease of the brain and pioneered the use of imaging to show the effects of drugs on the brain.

Dr. Diana Bianchi

An accomplished prenatal geneticist, Dr. Diana Bianchi is director of NICHD.

Dr. Linda S. Birnbaum

Dr. Linda S. Birnbaum, first woman director of NIEHS, is a toxicologist and microbiologist.

Brennan speaks at podium.

NLM director Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan is a pioneer in creating information systems for patients.

Betsy Humphreys

NLM Deputy Director Betsy Humphreys previously directed the Unified Medical Language System project.

Dr. Patricia Grady

Internationally recognized for her research focused on stroke, Dr. Patricia Grady is NINR director.

Dr. Vivian Pinn

Dr. Vivian Pinn, the first African-American woman to chair an academic pathology department in the U.S., served as first full-time director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health.

Election to the National Academy of Science (NAS), the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) or the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is considered a prestigious honor for U.S. scientists. 

From 1977, with the election of Dr. Elizabeth Neufeld to NAS as the first woman from NIH to be so honored, there has been a growing number of female scientists elected to the academies, some recognized by more than one. 

The academies are private, non-profit institutions that provide expert advice to the government on matters of science, engineering and medicine. 

Here, we have included the names and some photographs of current members as well as some who came before, as an introduction to a web page to come later this spring that will celebrate these women. Feel free to share any additional information you may have with Lydia Polimeni of OD’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison,

Susan Amara, NAS (2004); Carolina Barillas-Mury, NAS (2014); Karen Berman, NAM (2016); Diana Bianchi, NAM (2013); Linda S. Birnbaum, NAM (2010); Patricia Flatley Brennan, NAM (2001); Maria Freire, NAM (2008); Naomi Lynn Gerber, NAS (2008); Susan Gottesman, NAS (1998); Patricia Grady, NAM (1999); Florence Haseltine, NAM (1993); Betsy Humphreys, NAM (1999); Elaine Jaffe, NAM (2008); Ruth Kirschstein, NAM (1983); Story Landis, NAM (2009); Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, NAS (2008), NAM (2009); Elizabeth Neufeld, NAS (1977); Vivian Pinn, NAM (1995); Judith Rapoport, NAM (1993); Matilda White Riley, NAS (1994); Barbara Rimer, NAM (2008); Maxine Singer, NAS (1979); Thressa C. Stadtman, NAS (1981); Gisela Storz, NAS (2012); Leslie G. Ungerleider, NAS (2000), NAM (2001); Martha Vaughan, NAS (1985); Nora Volkow, NAM (2000); Sue Hengren Wickner, NAS (2004); Wei Yang, NAS (2013); Kathryn Zoon, NAM (2002)

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