Women & Science Portrait Initiative
Florence R. Sabin, M.D.
Florence Sabin came to the Rockefeller Institute in 1925 as one of the leading women scientists in the United States. After serving as a medical intern at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Sabin joined the faculty at the Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1917. She was soon promoted to full professor, the first woman at the school to achieve this rank. In 1924, she became the first female president of the American Association of Anatomists and, a year later, was the first woman to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Soon thereafter, Dr. Sabin was named Rockefeller’s first woman full professor. Her time at the Institute was primarily dedicated to the study of immune system cells and tubercular lesions. Dr. Sabin’s work in this area is widely celebrated for its important contributions to understanding the immune response to tuberculosis infections. In 1938, she retired from Rockefeller. She then embarked on a new career in her home state of Colorado, where she investigated health services and campaigned for public health legislation. For this work, Dr. Sabin received a Lasker Award for Public Service in 1951. A statue of her stands in the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol.