This woman was the daughter of a pioneer and expert bacteriologist and pathologist who helped find a treatment for syphilis. She followed in her father's footsteps to help develop treatments for gonorrhea. On May 1, 1919, Ada Hawes gave birth to a baby girl named Jane Hinton in the state of Massachusetts. William Augustus Hinton was Jane’s father. William Hinton was the son of a formerly enslaved person who became the first black person to be a professor at Harvard, he was also the first black person to write and publish a textbook. He became an expert bacteriologist and pathologist because he was not allowed to gain an internship in medicine while living in Boston. William used his expertise to help develop testing, a diagnosis, and treatment for syphilis. Jane Hinton’s mother, Ada Hawes was a school teacher and social worker in Boston, Massachusetts. When Jane Hinton was a young girl, William Hinton moved his family to Europe seeking a better living, free of racist barriers. Jane Hinton was exposed to many activities and organizations as a young grade school student in Europe. She became involved in activities such as student government, orchestra, glee clubs, theater, and basketball. Jane Hinton returned to the United States in 1939 to attend Simms College in Boston, Massachusetts, where she received her bachelor's degree at the age of 20.
William Hinton was instrumental in helping his daughter achieve her career goals. In 1931, William created a Medical Laboratory Techniques course for the students at Harvard. What was pioneering about this course is, that it included women. This was the first time women were included in such a course. Jane Hinton would become a research assistant at Harvard University, assisting the bacteriologist John Howard Mueller. Mueller became known for discovering the amino acid methionine in 1921. Both Dr. Jane Hinton and Howard Mueller co-developed the Mueller-Hinton Agar. The Mueller-Hinton Agar was developed to isolate the bacteria that caused gonorrhea and meningococcal meningitis. They learned that starch will help the bacteria grow, but it also prevented the toxins from the bacteria to impede the testing of antibiotics. The Muller-Hinton Agar became the standard medium for culturing the Neisseria bacteria. Moving into the 1960s, the Muller-Hinton Agar was also being used to determine if certain bacteria were receptive to antibiotics. Because of the Mueller-Hinton Agar, the Kirby-Bauer technique was adopted by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute as the new test for antibiotics.
Dr. Hinton worked as a lab technician in Arizona during World War II before transitioning into veterinary medicine after the war. She attended the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her doctorate degree in Veterinary Science in 1949. Dr. Hinton became one of the only two black women to receive a Doctorate in Veterinary Science in 1949. She was the fifth black woman at the time to receive her Doctorate in Veterinary Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Hinton along with Dr. Alfreda Webb became the first two black women to become members of the Women's Veterinary Medicine Association. As a veterinarian, Dr. Hinton operated a veterinarian practice in Canton, Massachusetts, and she also became an inspector for the federal government. In 1984, Dr. Jane Hinton was honored by the University of Pennsylvania for becoming the fifth black woman to earn a doctorate degree in veterinary science. She would die in 2003, as a pioneer and legend in the field of biology. She used the information she had to develop the technology we need to help fight sexually transmitted diseases. And let’s not forget the achievements of her father William Hinton, who set a great foundation for his daughter to become a legend. To Dr. Jane Hinton, we proudly stand on your shoulders.
Click Here to join our mailing list