Episode Description

Scientist Leona Zacharias was a rare woman. She graduated from Barnard College in 1927 with a degree in biology and, ten years later, earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Throughout her career she labored behind men with lofty titles who got the credit. In the 1940s and ’50s, when tiny premature babies were going blind soon after birth, Dr. Zacharias worked with the Boston team that rooted out the cause: oxygen.

In this Lost Women of Science episode, host Katie Hafner visits the archives at M.I.T. and The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary to try to understand Dr. Zacharias’s role in identifying the cause of retrolental fibropasia (now called retinopathy of prematurity). For host Katie Hafner, it’s personal: Leona Zacharias was her grandmother.

Zacharias, Dr. Leona, and Susan Larson discussing research on retrolental fibroplasis research, in connection with new research wing, 1956
Zacharias, Dr. Leona, biologist, undated

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