Hockfield at the 2012 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
|President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Term||2004 – 2012|
|Successor||L. Rafael Reif|
March 24, 1951 |
Susan Hockfield (born March 24, 1951) was the sixteenth president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hockfield's appointment was publicly announced on August 26, 2004, and she formally took office December 6, 2004, succeeding Charles M. Vest. Hockfield's official inauguration celebrations took place during the week of May 2, 2005. Her title is "President and Professor of Neuroscience," and she is the first woman and the first life scientist to hold the title of president of MIT. On February 16, 2012, Dr. Hockfield announced she would step down as MIT's president once a successor was ready to assume the office.
She attended Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, New York and graduated in 1969. Hockfield received her bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Rochester in 1973 and her Ph.D in Anatomy and Neuroscience from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1979. Her doctoral dissertation was on the subject of pathways in the nervous system through which pain is perceived and processed. Her advisor during her doctoral work was Steven Gobel.
At Yale University, she served as professor of neurobiology and as dean of the Graduate School. As dean, Hockfield introduced a "Take a Faculty Member to Lunch" program to encourage informal faculty-student interactions. The program paid for lunch when one or two students invited a professor to join them. It was later expanded to also cover the cost of lunch when a faculty member invited a graduate student.
Hockfield then served at Yale University as a provost, the university's second highest officer.
During her time as dean and provost, Hockfield was at the center of the imbroglio surrounding the Graduate Employees and Students Organization and its unionization efforts. While Yale opposed the student union, Hockfield made healthcare for PhD students free and increased stipends for graduate students.
Hockfield has continued scientific research in addition to her administrative career. She pioneered the use of monoclonal antibody technology in brain research and discovered a gene that plays a critical role in the spread of cancer in the brain. Scientists working under her direction identified a family of cell surface proteins whose expression is regulated by neuronal activity early in an animal's life. Her early work involved the application of monoclonal antibody technology to questions within neurobiology. A link between her research and human health was made when it was suggested one of these proteins played a role in the progression of brain tumors. Hockfield's work has recently focused one type of brain tumor called glioma. Her work suggests that the glioma is particularly deadly because of the way highly mobile cancerous cells move around the brain. 
Hockfield is married to Thomas N. Byrne, M.D (Clinical Professor of Neurology at MIT's Health Science and Technology). They were married on March 2, 1991 at Yale's Battell Chapel. They have a daughter, Elizabeth.
- American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal, Yale University Graduate School
- Meliora Citation for Career Achievement, University of Rochester
- Charles Judson Herrick Award (for outstanding contributions by a young scientist), American Association of Anatomists
- Nickerson, Nate (2012). "Susan Hockfield to step down - MIT News Office". web.mit.edu. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
- Bombardieri, Marcella (August 26, 2004). "MIT set to pick its first female president". The Boston Globe.
- Qualcomm Press Release, "Qualcomm Elects Dr. Susan Hockfield to Board of Directors," 10 July 2012: 
- National Press Release, "FBI Director Appoints National Security Higher Education Advisory Board," 15 December 2005: .
- "Susan Hockfield and Thomas Byrne, Medical Professors at Yale, Are Wed". The New York Times. March 3, 1991. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
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- Promoting a Culture of Science in the United States Appearance on the Takeaway June 2012.