May 21, 2020
Shirley M. Tilghman became Princeton University’s 19th president in 2001, serving on the Princeton faculty for 15 years before being named president. Dr. Tilghman came to Princeton as the Howard A. Prior Professor of the Life Sciences. Two years later, she also joined the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as an Investigator. Dr. Tilghman was the founding director of Princeton’s multi-disciplinary Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and one of the founding members of the National Advisory Council of the Human Genome Project Initiative for the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Tilghman received an Honors B.Sc. in chemistry from Queen’s University and a PhD in biochemistry from Temple University. During postdoctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Tilghman made a number of ground-breaking discoveries while participating in cloning the first mammalian gene, and then continued to make scientific breakthroughs as an independent investigator at the Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia and an adjunct associate professor of human genetics and biochemistry and biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Tilghman is renowned not only for her pioneering research, but for her national leadership on behalf of women in science and for promoting efforts to make the early careers of young scientists as meaningful and productive as possible. She received national attention for a report on Trends in the Careers of Life Scientists and has helped launch the careers of many scholars as a member of the Pew Charitable Trusts Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Selection Committee and the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust Scholar Selection Committee.
Dr. Tilghman received Princeton’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Developmental Biology, the Genetics Society of America Medal, and was one of five winners of the L’Oréal-UNESCO international Women in Science Award. She is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the Royal Society of London. Dr. Tilghman serves as a Trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study, Amherst College, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the Simons Foundation, and the American academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation.