Dorothy Andersen, MD
Dr. Andersen is unquestionably one of the most important figures in the history of cystic fibrosis. Her contributions to the field, including her discovery of CF in 1938, sparked decades of scientific progress that have transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
It was during her time as a pathologist at Babies Hospital at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center — now the NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital — that she discovered what was a previously unknown disease. During the autopsy of a child who died of suspected celiac disease, she noticed an “unexpected lesion in the pancreas.”  After further research of other infants also believed to have died from celiac disease, she wrote a paper in 1938 in which she identified “cystic fibrosis of the pancreas” as a new disease. [1,2]
In a 1951 paper, Dr. Andersen and co-author Dr. Walter Kessler describe their research into heat prostration in children with CF during a New York heat wave which found that children with CF are susceptible to heatstroke after continued exposure to high temperatures.  They also noted that the sweat glands did not function properly in people with CF.  Dr. Andersen later co-authored an article with her colleague — and mentee — Dr. di Sant’Agnese in which they wrote about the high salt content in sweat in people with CF and how it could be used to diagnose them. 
Dr. Andersen, who died in 1963, was an honorary chair of the National Cystic Fibrosis Research Foundation — now known as the CF Foundation. Her foundational, lifelong work served as a springboard for others to dive deeper into the disease, establish effective diagnostic tools, identify the underlying causes, and develop treatments for cystic fibrosis.