Dr. Flossie Wong-Staal

Biologist

Dr. Flossie Wong-Staal was known for her groundbreaking research of HIV and the causes of AIDS during her career as a  molecular biologist. During her studies, Staal gained interest in “retroviruses” and their ability to be potential pathogens in human diseases.  She graduated with a  bachelor’s degree in bacteriology and afterwards she went on to acquire her Ph.D in Molecular Biology from UCLA. Throughout her work, Staal was able to artificially recreate HIV and map out its complex structure. By doing this, Staal and her team were able to hypothesize that HIV is in fact the primary cause of AIDS. This discovery later led to a “cocktail” therapy to be used to treat those with AIDS. Staal published over 400 papers based on her work and was selected by the Institute for Scientific Information as the top woman scientist of her time. Over the course of her career, she mentored students and other young scientists who wished to pursue work within the molecular biology field. Staal will always be known as an inspiration to the scientific community, especially those that she had mentored.

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