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Elaine Fuchs’s pioneering work in the field of stem cell research and skin diseases revolutionized modern dermatology and paved the way for groundbreaking research into the treatment of skin cancer, the deadliest and most widespread form of the disease. Growing up just outside Chicago, Fuchs (b. 1950) came from a family of scientists—her father was a geophysicist specializing in meteorites, her paternal aunt was a biologist, and her older sister became a neuroscientist—and Fuchs, fascinated by the ecosystems of the fields and streams around her farm, decided early on that she would study science.

Completing a chemistry degree at the University of Illinois in 1972, Fuchs was well aware that the field at the time was dominated by men (both her aunt and her sister had ...

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