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Kornbluth, Sally, 1960-



  • Existence: 1960 December 3


Sally Kornbluth is a cell biologist, and became MIT’s (current) 18th president on January 1, 2023.

Kornbluth graduated from Williams College in 1982 with a BA in political science. Shifting towards biology, she received a scholarship to attend Cambridge University, where she earned a BA in genetics in 1984.

In 1989, Kornbluth received her PhD in molecular oncology from Rockefeller University, and then completed postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Diego. In 1994, she joined Duke as an assistant professor of pharmacology and cancer biology, and by 2005 had risen to full professor. She stepped into administration the following year as vice dean for basic science at the Duke School of Medicine, a post she held until she became provost in 2014.

Kornbluth’s research has focused on the biological signals that tell a cell to start dividing or to self-destruct — processes that are key to understanding cancer as well as various degenerative disorders. She has published extensively on cell proliferation and programmed cell death, studying both phenomena in a variety of organisms. Her research has helped to show how cancer cells evade this programmed death, or apoptosis, and how metabolism regulates the cell death process; her work has also clarified the role of apoptosis in regulating the duration of female fertility in vertebrates.

Among other honors, in 2012, Kornbluth received the Basic Science Research Mentoring Award from the Duke School of Medicine and in 2013, the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Duke Medical Alumni Association. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Inventors, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

*Prepared by the MIT Office of the President (Edited April 2023)