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11 .
Professor Elaine Fuchs has noted:
At every level throughout my career I have
been faced with some difficulties as a result of
being female. I feel this has served as part of my
inspiration to participate in fighting battles for
younger women. I’d like to see those who are
younger than me not have to face the hardships
I had to face.
Rockefeller’s senior women scientists—all of whom have
been appointed to distinguished named chairs—hold
positions of significant responsibility at the University.
Titia de Lange, for example, serves as co-director of the
University’s Anderson Center for Cancer Research; Cori
Bargmann co-directs the Shelby White and Leon Levy
Center for Mind, Brain, and Behavior; and Mary Jeanne
Kreek is scientific director of a research center established
at Rockefeller by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Dr. Bargmann, who was a member of the search
committee that brought President Marc Tessier-Lavigne
to the University, chairs the committee charged with
recruiting new scientists to the Rockefeller faculty.
Most of the University’s senior women have been elected
to the Academic Council—the executive committee
of the Faculty Senate—and several have chaired this
group. And at present, Dr. Fuchs heads the postdoctoral
review committee that awards the fellowships funded by
and other University donors.
The influence of the University’s senior women scientists
extends far beyond Rockefeller’s gates. Drs. Bargmann,
de Lange, and Fuchs are members of the National Academy
of Sciences, and Drs. Bargmann and de Lange serve on
the Lasker Award selection jury. Dr. Fuchs has been
president of both the International Society for Stem Cell
Research and the American Society for Cell Biology. She
and Cori Bargmann, along with Leslie Vosshall, are
investigators with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Rockefeller Women—National and
International Agents of Change
Rockefeller has always held to the principle of appointing
the most talented and innovative scientists to head its
laboratories. Becoming a lab head at the University
is extraordinarily difficult. Although relatively small
compared to its peer institutions, Rockefeller may attract
as many as 1,000 applicants for a single faculty position.
Thus the women—and men—selected as Rockefeller lab
heads are among the best scientists in the world.
In their laboratories, Rockefeller’s women scientists are
solving scientific problems related to understanding a wide
range of diseases and disorders. They also serve as mentors
for the University’s graduate students and postdoctoral
fellows. Half of these aspiring scientists are women; like
their mentors, they are highly gifted and granted a rare
degree of independence by the University.
Through leadership positions at Rockefeller and
involvement with national and international scientific
organizations, Rockefeller’s women faculty are helping to
assure that the culture of science will continue to become
more accessible to and equitable for women.
Jennifer Bussell is a graduate fellow mentored by
Leslie Vosshall, her lab head.