Sarah Stewart (cancer researcher)

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Sarah Stewart
Sarah Stewart MD nci-vol-1921-300.jpg
Sarah Stewart
Born(1905-08-16)August 16, 1905
Tecalitlán, Jalisco, Mexico
DiedNovember 27, 1976(1976-11-27) (aged 71)
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
CitizenshipUSA
Alma materGeorgetown University School of Medicine
Known forfirst describing the Polyomavirus
Scientific career
InstitutionsUnited States Public Health Service

Sarah Stewart (August 16, 1905 – November 27, 1976) was a Mexican American researcher who pioneered the field of viral oncology research, the first to show that cancer-causing viruses can spread from animal to animal. She and Bernice Eddy co-discovered the first polyoma virus, and Stewart-Eddy polyoma virus is named after them.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Sarah Elizabeth Stewart was born on August 16, 1905 in Tecalitlán, Jalisco, Mexico.[2] Born to a Mexican mother and American engineer father, she moved back to the United States at the age of 5.[1] She did her undergraduate work at the New Mexico State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 1927. She went on to earn a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1930 and a Ph.D in microbiology from the University of Chicago in 1939. In 1949, she became the first woman to be awarded an MD Degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine.[3]

Career[edit]

Sarah Elizabeth Stewart, ca 1950

Stewart joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1935-1944 while completing her PhD at the University of Chicago.[1] She went on to teach microbiology at Georgetown University's School of Medicine, and once women were allowed to enroll, she became their first female graduate at the age of 39.[1][4] Stewart returned to the NIH in 1951, joining the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and eventually becoming medical director.[1]

Stewart developed an interest in researching viral links to cancer in light of the pioneering research of Jonas Salk in developing a vaccine for the virus which caused polio. Stewart developed an interest in researching viral links to cancer in light of the pioneering research of Jonas Salk in developing a vaccine for the virus which caused polio. Stewart is credited with discovering the Polyomavirus in 1953.[3] She and research partner, Dr. Bernice E. Eddy, were successful in growing the virus in 1958 and the SE (Stewart-Eddy) polyoma virus is named after them. Stewart was the first to successfully demonstrate that viruses causing cancer could be spread from animal to animal.[5] She left the NIH to become professor at Georgetown University in 1971.[4]

Death and afterward[edit]

Stewart died of cancer at her home in New Smyrna Beach, Florida on November 27, 1976.[6] A collection of her papers is held at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Fulghieri, Carl; Bloom, Sharon (2014). "Sarah Elizabeth Stewart". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 20 (5): 893–895. doi:10.3201/eid2005.131876. ISSN 1080-6040.
  2. ^ Cancer Research, Sarah Stewart, Obituary, Volume 37, 4675
  3. ^ a b Biography from gwis.org Archived 2008-07-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b "Sarah stewart student research lecture series". Georgetown University.
  5. ^ Stanley, Autumn. Mothers and Daughters of Invention, Page 165. 1993, Rutgers University Press.
  6. ^ Smith, J. Y. (1976-12-08). "Dr. Sarah Stewart, Cancer Researcher, Dies". The Washington Post. p. C15.
  7. ^ "Sarah E. Stewart Papers 1927-1977". National Library of Medicine.