Villa-Komaroff to Present SDI and Five Colleges Distinguished Lecture

March 27, 2014
Lydia Villa-Komaroff

Lydia Villa-Komaroff, a board member and chief scientific officer for Cytonome/ST, will speak on “From Bench to Boardroom: A Life in Science” when she presents the Stem Diversity Institute and Five Colleges Distinguished Lecture on Friday, April 4 at 4 p.m. in 221 Integrated Sciences Building.

A molecular biologist, Villa-Komaroff was the third Mexican-American woman to earn a science Ph.D. in the United States when she was awarded a doctorate in cell biology from MIT in 1975.

She began her research career under the tutelage of David Baltimore and Harvey Lodish at MIT, and received a Ph.D. in Cell Biology in 1975. Her professional experience includes research positions at Harvard University, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Cold Spring Harbor, Children¹s Hospital in Boston, and Cytonome, Inc. During the discovery phase of her career, she published more than 70 research articles and reviews. From 1998 to 2003 she was vice president for research at Northwestern University and from 2003-05, she served as vice president for research and chief operating officer of the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge. She joined Cytonome, Inc., a company building the first optical cell sorter capable of supporting rapid, sterile sorting of human cells for therapeutic use, as chief scientific officer in 2005 and became CEO in 2006.

She is currently serving on the National Academies of Science and National Academy of Engineering Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine, and the National Research Council Committee on Underrepresented Groups and the Expansion of the Science and Engineering Workforce Pipeline.

She is a member of the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Hall of Fame and a fellow of the Association for Women in Science.  She has served on review committees for the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. She was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Assessing the System for Protecting Human Research Subjects, the National Research Council Committee on the Structure of NIH, and the congressionally mandated National Science Foundation Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering. She was elected to a four- year term on the board of directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2001. She is a founding member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science and has been both a board member and vice president of the organization. She became chair of the board of trustees for Pine Manor College in 2007.

A reception follows the lecture.