Revisiting the Pathologist in the Basement

May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month and it’s also the birth month of Dr. Dorothy Andersen, the pathologist who first identified the disease in 1938.

We’re revisiting our 2021 inaugural Lost Women of Science season in her honor. A few important things have happened since we first aired The Pathologist in the Basement, and it’s safe to say that Dr. Anderson is now a little less lost. In late November 2021, Dr. Scott Baird, a pediatric critical care doctor at Columbia University, Dr. Anderson's own institution, published an exhaustive biography of her. 

And in November 2023, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation changed the name of its highest scientific honor to the “Dorothy Andersen and Paul di Sant’Agnese Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award.” This accolade was originally named in honor of just Dr. di Sant’Agnese, one of Dr. Andersen’s mentees. (You can learn more about their work together in Episode 2.) Dr. Andersen now receives equal billing, and we’d like to think we had something to do with that.