During World War II, Dr. Pittman investigated the safety of blood and blood products, discovering and eliminating the cause of fever and death from plasma infusions.
In 1944, she developed a new assay to test the potency of the pertussis vaccine, under the direction of Dr. Milton Veldee, Director of the Biologics Control Laboratory at the time.
After World War II, Dr. Pittman continued to work with other bacterial vaccines, including cholera, where she worked with the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). She was also instrumental in assessing the efficacy of and establish national and international standards for the production of the yellow fever vaccine and the typhoid vaccine.
Dr. Pittman with her ‘right hand,’ technician James F. Marshall, in 1971 (caption provided by Dr. Pittman)
“Margaret Pittman: Down to a 40-hour work-week,” Gail McBride, Medicine on the Midway, Spring 1987, pp. 3-8.