Yale Professor Joan A. Steitz to Talk Thursday on Women in Science

January 9, 2009 — Yale University professor Joan A. Steitz will give a public talk, "Beyond Bias and Barriers: A Report on a Report on Women in Science," Thursday, Jan. 15, at 4 p.m. at the auditorium of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library.

Steitz, Yale's Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will discuss a National Academies report that analyzes the reasons for under-representation of women in academic science. The report makes broad recommendations for academic institutions, professional societies and government organizations that could contribute to fuller use of the talents of women, which the report said is critical to maintaining a competitive position in science.

"This is a very important topic and one that must be addressed," said Peter Brunjes, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and Commonwealth Professor of Psychology. "There are several attempts around Grounds to mentor women in science, and this guest lecture by Joan Steitz is an exciting way to help address the many issues involving women in science."

The College of Arts & Sciences is sponsoring the lecture.

Steitz conducts research on the multiple roles played by small RNA — protein complexes in gene expression in vertebrate cells.

Among her many accolades during her long academic science career, Steitz is a recipient of the Albany Medical Center Prize, the Gairdner Foundation Internal Award, the U.S. Steel Foundation Award in Molecular Biology and the National Science Foundation National Medal of Science. She is a member of the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Science.

An interesting article about her career can be found at www.hhmi.org/bulletin/feb2006/features/trailblazer.html.

Steitz also will present a specialized talk, "Tiny RNPs: Versatile Regulators of Gene Expression in Vertebrate Cells" Jan. 16 at noon in Gilmer Hall, room 190, sponsored by the chemistry and biology departments.

— By Fariss Samarrai