Gertrude B. Elion (1918 - 1999) was a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist and pharmacologist whose research contributed to the development of many drugs to combat a plethora of illnesses and afflictions. After breaking into a field in which she was told she didn't belong, Elion became one of the most successful and decorated female medical researchers in history. Her 1988 Nobel Prize in Medicine, shared with research partner George H. Hitchings and Sir James Black, was awarded for "discoveries of important principles for drug treatment." Three years later, Elion was the first woman inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She's perhaps best known for her research methods that led to the development of the AIDS drug, AZT.

"The Nobel Prize is fine, but the drugs I've developed are rewards in themselves."

As quoted in The New York Times, October 18, 1988, (h/t TodayinSci)

Photo credit: "Gertrude Elion 1991" by Unknown - [1]. Licensed under CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.