Branson was instrumental in researching sickle cell anemia, an ailment that mostly affects Black people. In 1958, Branson and Dr. Frederick Peck released a paper that laid out details about the condition. Even though he was awarded a Nobel Prize, history remembers his contribution in regards to alpha helix. In addition to his work in science, Branson was a powerful ally for historically Black colleges and universities and student financial aid. In a meeting with then-President Richard Nixon, Branson and other educators convinced the Nixon administration to give $30 million in aid for students.