Hinsdale Central High School

Dr. Mary Ellen Jones

Membership level: Hall of Fame
Dr. Mary Ellen Jones
Inductee Year 1997
Dr Mary Ellyn Jones
Mary Ellen Jones, Hinsdale High School Class of 1940, earned her Bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago in 1944. She went on to study biochemistry at Yale University, where she earned a Ph.D. in 1951. In remarks in the Class of '40 fiftieth reunion anniversary book, Dr. Jones credited her interest in the biological sciences to her sophomore science teacher, Mr. Poppenhager.

Dr. Jones was known for her research in biochemistry, and received the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal in honor of her achievements. The obituary that appeared in the St. Petersburg, Florida Times (Sept. 8, 1996) read in part, "Dr. Mary Ellen Jones, 73, a biochemist whose studies of the components of DNA were part of the foundation of basic cancer research, died of cancer on August 23 . . . DNA molecules are the building blocks of life, and Dr. Jones' research helped uncover how cells make the building blocks of DNA . . . She was among the first to conduct research in this field."

Prior to her retirement, Dr. Jones served as the Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of North Carolina. She was the first woman to be named as a department head on the UNC Medical School faculty, and the first woman to be named a Kenan Professor. On April 23, 1997 the University of North Carolina honored her posthumously by renaming the building in which she worked the Mary Ellen Jones Building.

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