Despite her tragically short career, Ora Mendelsohn Rosen’s biochemical research helped explain how hormones dictate cell growth, shaping our understanding of diabetes and cancer. In 1956 Rosen graduated from Barnard and married Samuel Rosen, but continued her education, earning her medical degree from Columbia in 1960 and doing post-graduate work at NYU and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She joined the faculty of Albert Einstein in 1966, becoming chair of the molecular pharmacology department in 1976 and director of the endocrinology division in 1977. In 1984 she joined the faculty of Memorial Sloan-Kettering and a year later cloned the gene for the human insulin receptor. The project revealed how receptors communicated information from the surface of a cell to the center—vital for understanding everything from how insulin fails to reach the cells of a diabetic to how hormones tell cancer cells to replicate. Rosen’s discoveries garnered her awards from the American Medical Women’s Association and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In 1989, the year before her death, she was elected one of the few female members of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Ora Mendelsohn Rosen." (Viewed on June 13, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/rosen-ora>.