Shirley M. Tilghman

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Shirley M. Tilghman
Associated organizations
Princeton University
Fields of study


A champion of integrating biological sciences and engineering for the advancement of technology, Dr. Shirley M. Tilghman is responsible for groundbreaking discoveries in genetics and leading Princeton University's (NJ, USA) engineering program to substantial growth by incorporating exposure to many scientific disciplines. Tilghman participated in cloning the first mammalian gene and also identified the H19 gene, which was important to genomic imprinting. She was one of the founding members of the National Advisory Council of the Human Genome Project for the US National Institutes of Health and helped set the blueprint for the U.S. effort in the Human Genome Project. As a professor at Princeton University, Tilghman envisioned the need to bring multiple scientific disciplines together to better interpret genomic data. In 1998, she became founding director of Princeton’s Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, which promoted collaboration among chemical engineering, computer science, molecular biology, physics, and chemistry. Under Dr. Tilghman’s leadership as president of Princeton (2001 to 2013), the engineering program realized increases in enrollment, sponsored funding, and facility space. During her tenure, Tilghman promoted integration between the engineering program and the liberal arts, and she instituted key educational initiatives. The Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment was established to conduct research on new energy and environmental technologies, and the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education was created to promote experiential learning, entrepreneurship, and leadership. She also helped launch the Princeton Neuroscience Institute and Princeton Center for Theoretical Science. Tilghman is also known for her national leadership in advancing the careers of women in science and engineering, serving as a role model and mentor.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of London and member of the US Institute of Medicine, Dr. Tilghman is President Emerita and a professor of molecular biology at Princeton University, NJ, USA. Tilghman was the recipient of IEEE Honorary Membership in 2014.