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Julia Bell

Born 1879
Died 1979

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English human geneticist, born January 28, 1879; died 1979.

Biography of Julia Bell

  • Julia Bell graduated in mathematics at Trinity College, Dublin. After six years investigating solar parallax at Cambridge Observatory and then moved to University College, she obtained a position as an assistant in statistics. It was her mentor, the mathematician Karl Pearson (1857-1936), one of the founders of modern statistics, who prompted her to change to medicine in 1914. She studied at the London School of Medicine for Women (Royal Free Hospital) and St. Mary’s Hospital. She qualified in 1920 and was elected Fellow of the Royal College of physicians in 1938.

    Working as a member of the permanent staff of the Medical research Council at the Galton Laboratory, University College, she did pioneering work in documenting document familial disease. With John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (1892-1964) she wrote a classic article on linkage of the genes for colour blindness and haemophilia.

    Bell reached the age of 100 years and kept in touch with genetics until her death. She did not retire until she was 86 years old, and at age 80 she wrote an original article on rubella and pregnancy.

    Besides Martin-Bell syndrome, her name is associatied with five different forms of brachydactyly.

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