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Jewel Plummer Cobb - Biologist and Cancer Researcher

Jewel Plummer Cobb - Biologist and Cancer Researcher

Black History Month - Focus on Science

As we move with hope and vigor towards a time in which the monumental achievements and contributions of Black and Indigenous folks are recognized with priority for 12 months of the year rather than sequestered to our calendar's shortest month, hBARSCI wishes to pay tribute to a handful of extremely important scientists. 

Though often underrepresented in history, these are people who have aided immeasurably in the evolution of humankind's understanding of our world and universe, and in our ability to survive on a small rock tearing through space at 1,000 miles per hour.

We will feature a Scientist weekly throughout the month, and it is our hope that these small bits of commentary will encourage further curiosity and learning. If there is a particular scientist who you would like to see featured here at any time of year, don't hesitate to reach out and let us know.  


Jewel Plummer Cobb

Dr. Cobb’s contributions to our world are incalculable. She was the granddaughter of a freed slave that would go on to graduate from Howard and become a pharmacist, and the daughter of the first Black person to earn a Doctor of Medicine from Cornell University. 

Jewel was a prolific educator, a researcher, and an administrator. Throughout her life she spearheaded initiatives and policy changes that have altered the landscape of our education system forever. 

Her research helped shine a flood light on the processes through which melanin producing skin cells become cancerous. She helped discover the efficacy of methotrexate in treating skin and lung cancer as well as childhood leukemia. 


Her resume as a professor includes tenures at the University of Illinois, NYU, Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College and Connecticut College. Her history in collegiate administration includes 7 years as Connecticut College’s first black Dean, dean at Douglass Residential College at Rutgers, and President of UC Fullerton. 

Cobb received the 1993 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Sciences as well as honorary Doctorates from five universities, a Reginald Wilson Award, a Candace Award, and the 1999 Achievement in Excellence Award from the Center for Excellence in Education. 

All of this perhaps pales in comparison to her impact on educational policy as it pertains to marginalized communities. 


More can and very much should be read at the following links:

https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/cobb-jewel-plummer-1924/

http://www.breasthealthandhealing.org/jewel-plummer-cobb-and-methotrexate/

https://www.cwhf.org/inductees/jewel-plummer-cobb

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewel_Plummer_Cobb

https://aaregistry.org/story/jewel-plummer-cobb-biologist/

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