2. Alice Augusta BallAlice Augusta Ball was a chemist who was known for developing an injectable oil extract that treated leprosy until the 1940s.
Ball was recruited by Dr. Harry T. Hollman at the Kalihi Hospital in Hawaii to isolate the active chemical compounds in chaulmoogra oil, which had previously been used to treat leprosy with inconsistent results. It was too sticky to be used as a topical and was painful if injected. Ball created a technique that would make the oil from chaulmoogra tree seeds injectable and absorbable into the body, according to a 2007 Northwest Hawaii Times article.
She isolated ethyl ester compounds from fatty acids in the oil. It was the only treatment for leprosy at the time that was effective.
Ball earned her bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Washington and got her second degree in pharmacy two years later. She went on to pursue her master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Hawaii. She was able to do her research on chaulmoogra oil before her untimely death at the age of 24.