Dr. Marie Maynard Daly

Dr. Marie Maynard Daly Clark was a biochemist and advocate for minorities in STEM. Originally from Queens, New York, she always showed an interest in science modeled after her father, an immigrant from the West Indies. With the support of her parents, she attended Hunter College High School where her aptitude for chemistry was supported. She obtained her BS (1942) in Chemistry graduating magna cum laude from Queens College (QC) in New York City. She continued working part-time as laboratory assistant at QC while completing her MS (1943) in Chemistry from New York University (NYU).

During  World War II, Dr. Daly was amongst the increase in women who received PhD funding due to a shortage in male scientists. She earned her PhD (1947) in Chemistry at Columbia University (Columbia) under Dr. Mary L. Caldwell working on amylases, becoming the first Black woman to both earn a Ph.D. Columbia and the first African-American woman in the United States to earn a Chemistry PhD. Her dissertation was titled “A Study of the Products Formed by the Action of Pancreatic Amylase on Corn Starch”. She was routinely addressed as Miss by her colleagues instead of Dr., which still unfortunately happens today.

She briefly taught at Howard University (HU) for 2 years before receiving an American Cancer Society (ACS) grant to conduct postdoctoral work at Rockefeller University (RU). There she worked on studying the structure of nuclear components including amino acids, RNA, proteins, and histones. She took a faculty position at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (VCPSCU) in 1955 and this is where she studied the impact of diet, high blood pressure, and cholesterol in rats. This work helped build a concrete link between heart attacks and high cholesterol. She joined Albert Einstein College of Medicine as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry in 1960, and later obtained Associate Professor (1971), and Full Professorship. She continued to work in hypertension, aging, and how smoking effected lung health.

Among her many accolades, Dr. Daly also started a scholarship fund for African-American STEM students at Queens College, was named amongst the “Top 50 Women in Science”, and was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She also participated in other initiatives to increase diversity. She retired in 1986 and passed away in 2003.


  1. https://www.sciencehistory.org/education/scientific-biographies/marie-maynard-daly/
  2. www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/clark-marie-maynard-daly-1921-2003/
  3. https://www.acs.org/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/daly.html
  4. https://undark.org/2017/08/07/unsung-marie-maynard-daly-women-stem/