Professor Hopkins obtained a Ph.D. from Harvard University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard and at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. She joined the MIT faculty in 1973. Her lab worked in three areas: mechanisms of leukemogenesis by mouse RNA tumour viruses; genetics of early vertebrate development using the zebrafish; and use of the zebrafish as a cancer model. Currently Nancy Hopkins is on sabbatical studying cancer prevention.
She became an advocate for women in science in 1995 after being appointed by then-MIT Dean of Science Robert Birgeneau to chair the First Committee on Women Faculty in the School of Science. A summary of her committee’s findings published in 1999 came to be known as the ‘MIT Report on the Status of Women Faculty in Science’.
In 2000 she was appointed by then-MIT president Vest to the MIT administration to Co-Chair the first Council on Faculty Diversity with Provost Robert Brown. The resulting efforts by MIT were recognized by US President Clinton and are credited with improvements in the status and number of women faculty at MIT and nationally.
Nancy Hopkins has lectured widely in the US, and also in Europe and Asia on the under-representation of women in STEM fields in academia.
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