28 Robert WoodJohnson
The Lure of
always attracted me, because I love discovering
new things," says Nancy Walworth, PhD, professor
and interim chair, Department of Pharmacology. Dr. Walworth is one of an increasing num-
ber of women drawn to and finding opportunities in the formerly male-dominated fields of
science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
As an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she found that a fas-
cination with cell biology replaced her initial interest in biomedical engineering. "It may
take years, but small observations often find their place in big puzzles," says Dr.
Walworth. As a doctoral student at Yale University, she became intrigued with the use of
mutant yeast to study basic cellular pathways. She still uses this approach to pursue relat-
ed cell cycle research, begun as a postdoctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
During her fellowship, Dr. Walworth identified the Chk1 protein kinase. The finding
was a turning point in elucidating mechanisms by which cell cycles are checked in
response to DNA damage. Fortuitously, the finding came at a time when her field was
becoming promising for the development of possible targeted treatment for cancer.
K A T E O ' N E I L L
P O R T R A I T S B Y
J O H N E M E R S O N
N A N C Y W A L W O R T H , P h D
Career Options forWomen in STEM