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Mary Ellen Avery

Mary Ellen Avery (May 6, 1927 – December 4, 2011), also known as Mel, was an American pediatrician. In the 1950s, Avery's pioneering research efforts helped lead to the discovery of the main cause of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in premature babies: her identification of surfactant led to the development of replacement therapy for premature infants and has been credited with saving over 830,000 lives. Her childhood, mentors, drive, and education inspired Avery to be the visionary that she was. In 1991 President George Bush conferred the National Medal of Science on Avery for her work on RDS.(source)

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