Tu Youyou

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Name: Tu Youyou

Country: China 

Date of birth: 30.12.1930 

Education: Bachelors in Pharmacy from the Beijing medical school

Type of business: Chemist  

Main Achievements: Prominent Malariologist and pharmaceutical chemist in China and all over the world. Known to discover life-saving drugs for Malaria, recognized as artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin. Lasker Award Winner in the year 2011. Nobel Prize achiever in physiology in 2015. The first female of China to achieve a Nobel Prize in any of the categories. Tu Youyou is no doubt the first Chinese individual to achieve the Lasker Award in 2011.

Something interesting about the person: She is known to highlight the success of a woman from China.. She saved millions of lives all around the world.  


Tu Youyou is a Nobel Prize winner chemist from China. She was born on 30 December 1930 in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China. She started her education in Xiaoshi Middle School and continued here till the first year of high school. As she was continuing her studies in high school, Tu Youyou was struck with a tuberculosis infection, which motivated her to go to medical school later. In the time period of 1951 to 1955, Tu Youyou studied in Beijing medical school of pharmacy; she graduated from there within the standard degree duration. Later she started her career by conducting research on herbal medicine in the china academy of Chinese medical science. 

She took training in traditional Chinese medicines for two and a half years. Tu Youyou married a person from her class from the Xiaoshi middle school. Tu Youyou and Li Tangzhao have two daughters; the family lives in Beijing. She pursued her research on medicines in the time period of the Chinese revolution. In this era, scientists were included in the nine black categories of society. She started her servings when she studied the effects of the common disease in south china, known as trematodes. She examined the medicines to cure the effects of this disease; the medicine was Lobelia Chinensis. In the time of the Vietnam war, the war was disrupted, and the Vietnam soldiers were at great threat of malaria. Not only this region, but the southern region of China was also under the blanket of malaria. 

During the war, the leader of North Vietnam requested Chinese to help in the preparation of anti-malarial drugs. So, a hidden project named “project 523” was initiated, and Tu Youyou was appointed the head of the research group in her institute. She conducted her research by examining the patients of malaria in Hainan first. Tu Youyou conducted hardcore research on creating an anti-malarial drug; she visited every practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine in every corner of the country. She carried a notebook with her, and the notebook was stuffed with 640 prescriptions in the year 1971. 

Tu Youyou and her team made 380 herbal extracts. However, only one of the compounds was affective, the sweet wormwood. Out of hundreds of recipes, using this was affective on mice and monkeys. In the year 1972, Tu Youyou and her team finally made the pure substance to fight malaria, known as artemisinin. Soon this medication was all over the world. Primarily in the developing world. She also became the first human subject of her research during the clinical trials. After years of dedication and hard work, Tu Youyou was entitled to Nobel Prize for her work on malaria in the year 2015. She is known for her uniqueness, as she didn’t even have any research experience abroad or wasn’t either member of Chinese national academies. Tu Youyou achieved dozens of awards, including National science congress prize, National inventor’s prize, warren Alpert foundation prize, and highest science and technology award of china in the year 2016.