MIT model explains how the brain can learn novel tasks while still remembering what it has already learned.
Nancy Hopkins, the Amgen Professor of Biology, is one of 55 new members elected last week to the National Academy of Science's associated organization, the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The IOM's total membership is now 588 individuals, of whom more than 20 are connected with MIT.
New members are elected by current active members on the basis of professional achievement and of demonstrated interest, concern and involvement with problems and critical issues that affect human health.
After receiving the BS from Radcliffe College (1964) and the PhD from Harvard University's Department of Molecular Biology and
Biochemistry (1971), Professor Hopkins was a postdoctoral fellow of James D. Watson at Harvard and at the Cold Spring Harbor
Laboratory, where she worked on DNA tumor viruses. She joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor in 1973 in the Center for Cancer Research and worked on RNA tumor viruses that cause leukemia in mice. She was promoted to professor of biology in 1982. In 1995, she was named chair of the first Committee on Women Faculty in the School of Science at MIT.
Nine years ago, Professor Hopkins switched fields to work in developmental biology. Her lab developed techniques for making transgenic zebrafish, including a technique called insertional mutagenesis. Using this technique, her lab is now engaged in a large experiment to isolate genes required for the normal development of the zebrafish embryo.
With their election to the IOM, members make a commitment to devote a significant amount of volunteer time on committees engaged in a broad range of studies on health policy issues.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 20, 1999.