Judith Vaitukaitis

Photo: Courtesy of Judith Vaitukaitis Were it not for the National Institutes of Health's former policy that did not allow NIH researchers to patent their discoveries, "Vaitukaitis" would have been a household name, like Pasteur or Steinway. That's because reproductive endocrinologist Judith Vaitukaitis, now director of NIH's National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), discovered what became the first simple pregnancy test--the immunoassay for the presence of human chorionic gonadotrophin (

Myrna Watanabe
Sep 29, 2002
Photo: Courtesy of Judith Vaitukaitis

Were it not for the National Institutes of Health's former policy that did not allow NIH researchers to patent their discoveries, "Vaitukaitis" would have been a household name, like Pasteur or Steinway. That's because reproductive endocrinologist Judith Vaitukaitis, now director of NIH's National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), discovered what became the first simple pregnancy test--the immunoassay for the presence of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in urine. She quips that her name isn't on the test because no one can spell it.

During her highly successful and productive clinical research career, which includes publication of more than 150 papers, she has had four publications selected as Citation Classics--including the paper on developing specific antisera (which led to the hCG immunoassay). "I think she's been an outstanding physician-scientist who has made many important contributions in the field of reproductive biology," says Aram Chobanian, dean...

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