Marie Maynard Daly became the first Black woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry, upon completing her doctoral program at Columbia University in 1947. She was fascinated with the inner workings of the human body and analyzed the digestive process in her thesis “A Study of the Products Formed By the Action of Pancreatic Amylase on Corn Starch”.
Of her many scientific achievements, Daly is known for her groundbreaking work studying the causes of heart attacks, in which she discovered a link between high cholesterol and clogged arteries.
While teaching courses in biochemistry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, she took action to increase the number of students of color enrolled in medical schools and graduate science programs. After retiring from her position in 1986, she established a scholarship at Queens College for African-American chemistry and physics majors.