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Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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New MIT President Not Like the Others
27 August 2004 (All day)
A neurobiologist from Yale University has been named president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The appointment of Susan Hockfield to succeed Charles Vest in December reflects the growing importance of the life sciences at MIT, which for the first time in its 142-year history will be led by a woman.
"I think they are slightly redefining MIT" by choosing Hockfield, says James Watson, a Nobel laureate who hired her as a junior investigator at New York's Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1980. "They haven't chosen someone from the military-academic-industrial complex." Her selection, he adds, "is great for neuroscience at MIT." This year, for the first time, MIT will receive more research dollars from the National Institutes of Health than from the Pentagon.
Hockfield is currently provost at Yale, which she joined as a faculty member in 1985 and also served as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She possesses "a rare combination of scientific achievement, outstanding managerial talent, and an extremely engaging personal style," says James Champy, who chaired the presidential search committee. MIT's previous 15 presidents have been male engineers or physicists, and the institution's prominence has made them national spokespersons for the science and engineering communities. Vest, a mechanical engineer, certainly played that role during his 14 years at the helm. Although Hockfield hasn't yet had such high-profile experience, her boss, Yale's Richard Levin, predicted that she "will take a leading role in shaping national science policy."
Hockfield's research has focused on brain tumors, and her work using monoclonal antibody technology led to the discovery of a protein that regulates changes in neuron structure. She also found a gene and proteins that may help researchers battle the spread of particularly deadly brain cancers. Yale colleagues cite her efforts to increase the number of women faculty members, a contentious issue at MIT since a 1999 report that was harshly critical of its treatment of women (ScienceNOW, 23 March 1999.