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When Nancy Hopkins joined the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology nearly 50 years ago, she didn’t think that her gender would have any impact on her career. “I was a person who thought that there really were no issues left for women to worry about in academia, once they were able to get jobs,” she said. But when she saw male colleagues receiving better treatment and more opportunities, she began to understand that a “strange undervaluation of women” was shaping her career and the careers of her female colleagues.

“The worst thing is realizing,” she said. “It’s a hard thing to accept.” 


Hopkins, now a professor emerita of biology at MIT, knew women scientists faced barriers outside of academia, too. In 2018, she formed the Boston Biotech Working Group with MIT colleagues Susan Hockfield, a former MIT president and professor of neuroscience, and Sangeeta Bhatia, a professor and researcher of biomedical engineering who has co-founded and is on the advisory board for several biotech companies. The group’s 39 members include top venture capitalists, executives from the Boston biotech scene, MIT faculty, policymakers, and academic administrators. Together, they’re working to both increase the number of women serving on the boards of biotech companies and open up more ways for women faculty to found their own companies.  

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  • the author of this article might be interested to know that this woman is my cousin ; although I graduated with honors from Cornell with an advanced degree I am not a scientist like her . My father had a PHD in chemistry from Columbia in 1932 and his father a PHD in chemistry from Cambridge in the 1800’s ; she is one of my father’s sister’s children both who are women ; I read this publication daily to learn every day

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