Her research brought hope to develop treatments to reduce T cell immunosuppression, especially in the elderly.

“Millie loved the science,” said Dr. Carl Grunfeld, deputy chief of staff for research and development at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, in an interview. “At some point during her illness, she suggested another way to modify her chemotherapy and got a wonderful remission. When she told me about it, it was with as much joy in science as in the laboratory. “

Millie Elizabeth Hughes was born on December 21, 1945 in rural Mineral Wells, Texas. Her father Charles owned a grocery store. Her mother, Lanore (Wilder) Hughes, was a housewife. Later in life, both parents became teachers.

At the age of 5, Millie was fascinated by science fiction when she saw the early television series “Buck Rogers”. She admired the character of Wilma Deering for being a pilot – and for wearing pants at a time when Millie was always told to wear a dress.

“And that’s how I wanted to be Wilma Deering because she could wear anything she wanted, she flew a spaceship and was a professional woman,” said Dr. Hughes-Fulford in a 2014 interview for the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Dr. Hughes-Fulford became a pilot and continued to be a science fiction fan, with a strong devotion to the Star Trek television series and movies, as well as the latest Star Wars activities at Disney World that she saw her in 2019 visited, said her daughter.

Dr. Realizing that NASA’s missions were limited to men in the 1960s and early 1970s, Hughes-Fulford became a scientist. She attended Tarleton State University (now part of the Texas A&M University System) in Stephenville, where she received a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1968. She has a Ph.D. in chemistry and biology from Texas Woman’s University at Denton in 1972.