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Susan Hockfield

MIT President, 2004 - 2012

Professor of Neuroscience

MIT President, 2004 - 2012

Professor of Neuroscience

Susan Hockfield 
MIT President 2004 – 2012
Professor of Neuroscience

Susan Hockfield served as the sixteenth president of MIT from December 2004 through June 2012, and was the first life scientist and the first woman to head the Institute. Under her leadership, MIT embarked on a campus-wide initiative to pioneer a clean energy future, and expanded its work at the interdisciplinary crossroads of the life, physical, and engineering sciences in fields as diverse as cancer research and novel battery technologies. After completing a BA from the University of Rochester, a PhD from Georgetown University and postdoctoral work at the University of California at San Francisco, Dr. Hockfield joined the scientific staff of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In 1985, she joined the faculty at Yale University. As the William Edward Gilbert Professor of Neurobiology, she focused her research on brain development and glioma, a type of brain cancer. Before assuming the MIT presidency, Dr. Hockfield served at Yale as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and as provost. Dr. Hockfield is a trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a director of the General Electric Company, and a member of the Board of Overseers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Hockfield is currently a professor of neuroscience at MIT.

Highlights from this interview include:

  • Thoughts on becoming the Institute’s president.
  • Multidisciplinary research groups studying complex clinical and scientific problems.
  • Reflections on her activities as a researcher and an academic leader at Yale University.
  • Discussion of how neuroscience grapples with questions in the sciences and humanities.
  • Collaborative efforts that led to the establishment of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.
  • Reflections on the progress of the MIT Energy Initiative.

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