Erin O’Shea, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

TITLE: President

FUNDING AREAS: Science, STEM, and biomedical research

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PROFILE: Erin K. O'Shea, PhD, used to serve as vice president and chief scientific officer at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Today, she is the president of HHMI. She is also a professor of molecular and cellular biology, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology, and director of the Harvard FAS Center for Systems Biology at Harvard University. O'Shea is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Before ascending to her current role at HHMI, she was an HHMI investigator starting in 2005.

Her HHMI bio shares: 

O’Shea is HHMI’s sixth president and the first woman to lead the Institute. Under her leadership, HHMI has established key priorities for its work in discovery science and science education. She is responsible for new efforts at HHMI to increase diversity in science and improve the academic ecosystem. In addition, she has overseen strategic changes to HHMI’s core programs to ensure the Institute maintains its impact over time.

A leader in the fields of gene regulation, signal transduction, and systems biology, O’Shea maintains a lab at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus. An HHMI investigator since 2000, she served on the faculties of Harvard University and the University of California, San Francisco, before joining HHMI in 2013, initially as vice president and chief scientific officer. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2017, Washingtonianmagazine named O’Shea “one of Washington’s 100 most powerful women.”

O’Shea received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Smith College and her PhD in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.