This is part of the #BlackCardioInHistory series. #AHAEarlyCareerVoice is partnering with #BlackInCardio to feature a series of profiles of black/African American Cardiologists for #BlackInCardioWeek2020. For more information: blackincardio.com
Dr. Marie Maynard Daly (1921-2003) became the first African American woman to receive a PhD in Chemistry. Dr. Daly was born in Queens, New York. She had the ambition to become a chemist through the influences of her father, who was on track to graduate from Cornell with an undergraduate degree in Chemistry when he was forced to drop out because of financial circumstances. Dr. Daly graduated magna cum laude from Queens College in New York with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. She then enrolled in a Master’s program in Chemistry at New York University and graduated in 1 year while working at Queens College as a part-time laboratory assistant.
From NYU, soon to be Dr. Daly enrolled in a doctoral program at Columbia. Her dissertation was titled A Study of the Products Formed by Action of Pancreatic Amylase on Corn Starch. Dr. Daly received her PhD in Chemistry in 1947 and was the first African American woman to receive a PhD in chemistry in the United States. Dr. Daly went on to teach at Howard University and then began researching at the Rockefeller Institute in New York as a post-doctoral fellow. After 7 years at the Rockefeller Institute, Dr. Daly started to teach at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York in 1955. She continued her research while at Columbia studying arterial metabolism.
Dr. Daly made seminal findings in arterial metabolism. In particular, she published findings of how respiration and cytochrome oxidase activity are altered in rat aortas during hypertension which was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine in 1958. In 1960 Dr. Daly moved to Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University and from 1958 to 1963, Dr. Daly was an investigator for the American Heart Association.
In 1963 Dr. Daly published another paper, this time examining the concentration of cholesterol and cholesterol synthesis in hypertensive rats, which she published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. In 1970 Dr. Daly published a methods paper on how to isolate intimal-medial tissues in arteries from rabbits. Dr. Daly was an integral part of the early molecular study using small mammal models to examine atherosclerosis and hypertension and was a pioneer in cardiovascular research.
Thus, it is not surprising that Dr. Daly was a member of the board of governors of the New York Academy of Sciences along with being a fellow of the American Cancer Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, New York Academy of Sciences, and Council of the American Heart Association. In 1999, just 4 years before her death, the National Technical Association recognized Dr. Daly as one of the top 50 women in Science, Engineering, and Technology. Finally, in 2016, a new elementary school was named The Dr. Marie M. Daly Academy of Excellence after Dr. Daly and her many achievements.
“The views, opinions and positions expressed within this blog are those of the author(s) alone and do not represent those of the American Heart Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The Early Career Voice blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.”