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Rebecca Craighill Lancefield (January 5, 1895 – March 3, 1981) was a prominent Americanmarker microbiologist. She joined the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Researchmarker in New York in 1918 and was associated to that institute throughout her long and outstanding career. Her bibliography comprises more than 50 publications published over 60 years. Her main achievements lie in her work on group A streptococci and its association with rheumatic fever. She is most famous for her serological classification of beta-hemolytic streptococcal bacteria which based on the carbohydrate composition of bacterial antigens found on their cell walls. The Lancefield classification system is still used internationally today.

Biography

She was born at Fort Wadsworthmarker, Staten Islandmarker, New Yorkmarker. She was educated at Wellesley Collegemarker, Massachusettsmarker and Columbia University, New York. At Columbia, she gained her Ph.D. in 1925. Eventually, she became professor of microbiology at Columbia University from 1958-1965. In 1943 she was the second woman to become President of the Society of American Bacteriologists. In 1961, she became President of the American Association of Immunologists, the only woman to be President of that Association. In 1970 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. In 1973 she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa) by Columbia University.

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