Who Was Marie Maynard Daly?

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Marie Maynard Daly was an American biochemist and the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States. She made significant contributions to the understanding of the role of proteins in the body and how they affect cardiovascular health. Daly’s research focused on the effects of cholesterol and sugars on arterial health, which helped advance our understanding of heart disease. She also worked to promote diversity and equal opportunities in the scientific community. Daly’s pioneering work paved the way for future generations of women and minority scientists.


If you’ve been curious with us for a while, you may already have some knowledge about DNA. You may have come across information about cholesterol and blood pressure. Without the individual at the center of today’s Wonder of the Day, scientists might not possess as much understanding about these subjects. Who are we referring to? Marie Maynard Daly, of course!

Marie Maynard Daly was born in New York City on April 16, 1921. Growing up in the Queens borough of the city, she had a passion for reading. This interest was inherited from her mother, who used to read to Daly when she was a child. Science books were her favorites.

Daly was raised in a family that prioritized education. Her father, who moved to the U.S. from the West Indies, studied chemistry at Cornell University. However, he was unable to complete his degree due to financial difficulties.

While in high school, Daly made it clear that she aspired to follow in her father’s footsteps. She had plans to earn a college degree in chemistry. Daly completed her high school education at Hunter College High School and continued her studies at Queens College.

In 1942, Daly graduated from college with honors and started working as a lab assistant. But she didn’t stop there! Daly pursued further studies at New York University and later at Columbia University. In 1947, she became the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Throughout the remainder of her career, Daly worked as a biochemist, utilizing chemistry to gain knowledge about living organisms. Specifically, Daly focused on the study of cholesterol. In fact, we owe her for establishing the link between cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Daly also conducted research on a unique type of protein known as histones, which play a role in the formation of chromosomes within cells. Her work in this area contributed to future scientists’ enhanced understanding of DNA organization.

In addition to these achievements, Daly dedicated many years to teaching as a college professor. She also made efforts to encourage more students from non-white backgrounds to pursue scientific fields of study. Daly even established a scholarship in memory of her father at Queens College.

Marie Maynard Daly passed away on October 28, 2003. Today, she is remembered for her invaluable contributions to the field of science. Which of Daly’s accomplishments do you believe had the greatest impact?

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Explore the Life and Achievements of Marie Maynard Daly

Marie Maynard Daly serves as an inspiring role model for individuals aspiring to achieve their dreams. Take a moment to read this article and delve into the fascinating details of her life. Afterward, share with a friend or family member what you find to be her most intriguing accomplishment.

Just like Marie Maynard Daly’s passion for science, do you have a subject that ignites your curiosity? Are you driven to make groundbreaking scientific discoveries? Take some time to write a couple of paragraphs about the subject that excites you. Consider exploring potential career paths or educational opportunities that can help you fulfill your aspirations. Share your thoughts with a friend or family member and discover what subjects they are passionate about.

Now, utilize the knowledge you’ve gained from today’s Wonder to create a captivating poster showcasing the life of Marie Maynard Daly. You can opt for traditional materials like paper, crayons, and markers, or explore online resources like the Wonderopolis Canva template. Highlight her significant achievements, the challenges she faced, and her lasting legacy.

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