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Bloomberg Professors to Address World Problems


(l-r) Kathryn Edin, Carol Greider

The first Bloomberg Distinguished Professors have arrived in the School of Arts and Sciences with a mandate to foster collaboration across Johns Hopkins’ many divisions and help address major world problems.

Kathryn Edin, a noted sociologist who studies families in poverty, and Carol Greider, a professor of molecular biology and genetics and co-winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, are among the first three of what will eventually be 50 Bloomberg Distinguished Professors. (The third, Peter Agre, is a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.)

The appointments come as the result of an extraordinary $350 million gift from Johns Hopkins alumnus and former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Edin is particularly renowned for books detailing how single mothers make ends meet, why poor women prioritize motherhood before marriage, and how economic and cultural changes have altered the role of fathers among the inner-city poor. She has been a professor of public policy and management at the Kennedy School of Government since 2007, and chair of Harvard’s Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy. She was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Her primary appointment is in the Krieger School, in the Department of Sociology, and she also holds an appointment in the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. She will play a lead role in the creation of one of the university’s signature initiatives: the Institute for the American City.

Greider won the Nobel Prize in 2009 for her discovery of telomerase and the process by which cells age. Her discovery provided key insights into the mechanisms of cellular division implicated in cancer as well as other diseases.

Greider’s primary appointment is with the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics in the School of Medicine, and she also holds an appointment in the Krieger School’s Department of Biology, where she will teach eukaryotic molecular biology. Greider will participate in the university’s Individualized Health Initiative.

“The goal of the Bloomberg gift is to create new and productive synergies across disciplines and to bend some of the best minds in the academy to the solution of pressing problems in the real world,” says Arts and Sciences Dean Katherine Newman. “I’m pleased that members of this first group of Bloomberg Distinguished Professors are now part of the lifeblood of the Krieger School.”