A woman in a blazer stands in front of windows.
Ruth Lehmann

A globally respected developmental and cell biology researcher, Lehmann is the fifth director of Whitehead Institute and professor of biology at MIT. She previously served as an Institute Member and MIT faculty member from 1988 to 1996, before beginning a distinguished 24-year career with New York University (NYU). There, she served as the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Cell Biology and Chair of the Department of Cell Biology; and she directed NYU’s Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine and its Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Center for Stem Cell Biology. An Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for 30 years, Lehmann has served as president of the Society of Developmental Biology, the Drosophila Board, and the Harvey Society; and been a council member of the National Institute of Child Health. She is the editor-in-chief of the Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology and will become president of the American Society for Cell Biology in 2021. Lehmann earned an undergraduate degree and a PhD in biology from the University of Tubingen, Germany, then conducted post-doctoral research at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England—before moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1988. She is a member of the National Academy of Science, a fellow of the American Academy of Sciences, and an associate member of the European Molecular Biology Organization.