Hockfield is president emerita and professor of neuroscience at MIT, where she served as the sixteenth president. As the first life scientist to lead MIT, she championed breakthroughs emerging from the convergence of the life, engineering, and physical sciences; and she oversaw the founding of the MIT Energy Initiative, the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard. Formerly at Yale University, Hockfield served as provost, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and William Edward Gilbert Professor of Neurobiology. She chaired the search committee that recruited Ruth Lehmann to become Whitehead Institute director in 2020. In 2019, Hockfield published The Age of Living Machines, a book that explores the role scientific convergence could play in overcoming major humanitarian, medical, and environmental challenges. She joined the Whitehead Institute board in 2020, and serves on the Leadership Advisory Committee and Nominating Committee.