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Ruby Hirose

Ruby Hirose
Ink and watercolor on 12″ x 9″ watercolor paper
The latest addition to the ‘She Changed the World’ collection!

The Ruby Hirose (1904-1960) story is one of the American dream. The daughter of Japanese immigrants, Ruby grew up in Kent, Washington and went to study pharmacology at the University of Washington, where she earned her master’s degree in 1928. She then moved to attend the University of Cincinnati where she earned a PhD in Biochemistry, making her one of the first Japanese Americans to earn a PhD.

Ruby worked at the University of Cincinnati, where she was attached to the Kettering Laboratory of Applied Physiology, researching cancer. Because she was in Ohio during World War II, she was not forced into the US Concentration Camps for Japanese Americans, however her sister, brother and father were. Later Ruby joined the research division of the William S Merrell Company, specializing in serums and antitoxins.

Her research led to the polio vaccine, as well as vaccines against many other diseases. She also worked on many treatments for allergy sufferers.

Note from Rob: My grandmother’s sister was crippled by polio at a young age, forced into a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She lived across the street from me growing up, and knowing that Ruby Hirose’s work led to others not having to go through what my aunt did is simply wonderful.