Born in 1930 in East China, Tu Youyou was taught the importance of education at an early age. After contracting tuberculosis and being forced to sit out from school at age 16, Tu returned to the classroom determined to study medicine. She went on to Beijing Medical College to study pharmacology. There she learned to extract active ingredients from and determine the chemical structures in medical plants.
Her education and determination, coupled with the study of Chinese medical texts led her to discover the cure for Malaria after successfully testing her preparation on 21 patients in 1971. For her life-saving work, in 2015 Tu became the first Chinese woman to win the Nobel Prize. She was referred to as the “three noes winner” for having no medical degree, no doctorate and never having worked overseas.