Gloria Allred: (1941- )

Ms. Allred is a founding partner of the law firm of Allred, Maroko & Goldberg (AM&G). Her firm handles more women’s rights cases than any other private law firm in the nation and has won hundreds of millions of dollars for victims.  Over the course of her 42 year legal career, Gloria Allred has won countless honors for her pioneering legal work on behalf of women’s rights and rights for minorities.

Gloria is a three-time Emmy nominee for her commentaries on KABC television in Los Angeles.  Her nationally syndicated television show “We the People, with Gloria Allred” was also nominated in 2012 for a Daytime Emmy Award. 

In January 2014 Gloria received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Trial Lawyers for her trailblazing and pioneering role in combating injustices and winning new rights especially for women and minorities.  She was honored at the 2016 International Women’s Forum (IWF) World Leadership Conference with the 2016 IWF Women Who Make a Difference Award.  President Obama has introduced Ms. Allred as “one of the best attorneys in the country”.

In 2017 Netflix announced “Seeing Allred” an original documentary about Ms. Allred and her battles for justice which launched globally on Netflix in February 2018 after its world premiere in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.  In February 2018 Ms. Allred received the Lenore Kramer Award for Excellence from the Women’s Caucus of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and in July 2018 she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Organization for Women (NOW) for her enduring commitment to fighting injustices against women.

Ms. Allred is also the author of “Fight Back and Win, My Thirty-Year Fight Against Injustice- And How You Can Win Your Own Battles”.

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Angela Davis: (1944- )

Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world.  Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.

Professor Davis’ teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley.  She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar, Syracuse University the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University.  Most recently she spent fifteen years at the University of California Santa Cruz where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness – an interdisciplinary Ph.D program – and of Feminist Studies.

Angela Davis is the author of ten books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America.  In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination.  She draws upon her own experiences in the early seventies as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.”  She also has conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment.  Her recent books include Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete? about the abolition of the prison industrial complex, a new edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and a collection of essays entitled The Meaning of Freedom. Her most recent book of essays, called Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, was published in February 2016.

Angela Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex.  Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison.

Like many educators, Professor Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions.  Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.

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Sarah Deer: (1972- )

Sarah Deer is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma and a professor at the University of Kansas. Ending violence against women is her life’s goal. Her 2015 book, The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America is the culmination of over 25 years of working with survivors and has received several awards, including the Best First Book award from the Native American Indigenous Studies Association.  A lawyer by training but an advocate in practice, Deer’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of federal Indian law and victims’ rights, using indigenous feminist principles as a framework. Deer is a co-author of four textbooks on tribal law and has been published in a wide variety of law journals.  Her work to end violence against Native women has received national recognition from the American Bar Association and the Department of Justice.  She has testified before Congress on two occasions regarding violence against Native women and was appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to chair a federal advisory committee on sexual violence in Indian country.  Professor Deer was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2014. 

She currently teaches at the University of Kansas (her alma mater), where she holds a joint appointment in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the School of Public Affairs and Administration. Professor Deer is also the Chief Justice for the Prairie Island Indian Community Court of Appeals.

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Jane Fonda: (1937- )

Jane Fonda was born in New York City in 1937, the daughter of Henry Fonda and Frances Seymour Fonda.  She attended the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, and Vassar College.  In her early twenties, Fonda studied with renowned acting coach Lee Strasberg and became a member of the Actors Studio in New York.

Fonda is a two- time Academy Award® winner (Best Actress in 1971 for Klute and in 1978 for Coming Home), a three-time Golden Globe® winner, and was the 2014 recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award. Along with starring roles in dozens of highly acclaimed productions, Fonda also took on responsibilities as a film and television producer.  Her credits include Coming Home, The China Syndrome, Nine to Five, Rollover, On Golden Pond, The Morning After and The Dollmaker.

In 2007 Fonda received an Honorary Palme d’Or from the Cannes Film Festival, one of only three people ever to be granted this honor until then.  In 2009 she received a Tony Award nomination for her role in Moisés Kaufman’s 33 Variations, on Broadway. 

Fonda revolutionized the fitness industry with the release of Jane Fonda’s Workout in 1982.  She followed with the production of 23 home exercise videos, 13 audio recordings, and seven bestselling books – selling 17 million copies all together.  The original Jane Fonda’s Workout video remains the top grossing home video of all time.

In 2011, Fonda appeared in Et Si On Vivait Tous Ensemble, a French comedy, followed by Peace, Love & Misunderstanding, co-starring Catherine Keener. She appeared as Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels’s The Butler in 2013, and with Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell in Better Living Through Chemistry. In 2014, she starred in director Shawn Levy’s This is Where I Leave You, with Tina Fey and Jason Bateman.

For three seasons Fonda appeared as media mogul Leona Lansing in an Emmy nominated performance in Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, on HBO. Most recently, she appeared in Youth, written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino (director and co-writer of Italy’s Academy Award® winning Best Foreign Language Film The Great Beauty). She received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.

Fonda also stars in Netflix’s hit series, Grace and Frankie, which premiered its fifth season in January 2019. She received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the 2017 Emmys. Her latest film, Our Souls at Night, co-starring Robert Redford premiered on Netflix in Fall 2017. The co-stars were honored with Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement in September 2017 at the 74th Venice Film Festival.  Fonda also premiered Jane Fonda in Five Acts, a documentary chronicling her life and her activism, at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. She will next be seen on the big screen in Paramount’s upcoming comedy, Book Club, in which she stars alongside Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Candice Bergen.

Additionally, Jane celebrated her 80th birthday in December 2017 by raising $1.3 million for her nonprofit, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential, which works to lower the teen pregnancy rate in the state of Georgia and improve the overall health and well-being of young people in the state to ensure a more powerful future for us all.

Jane also celebrated her 80th birthday by helping raise nearly $1 million for the Women’s Media Center which she co-founded with Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan and which works to make women and girls more visible and powerful in media.

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Nicole Malachowski: (1974- )

Retired Air Force Colonel Nicole Malachowski is a pioneer for women in combat aviation. She was the first woman pilot selected for the US Air Force Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron, flying as Thunderbird #3, the right wing position, from 2005 to 2007.  Nicole has flown over 188 combat hours, including her proudest moment as a fighter pilot: leading the first fighter formation to provide security for Iraq’s historic democratic elections in 2005. She served alongside the United States Army 2nd Infantry Division in Korea as an Air Liaison Officer, coordinating airpower in a multi-national environment. Nicole makes it clear that her highest career honor was commanding the 333rd Fighter Squadron, leading an elite cadre of F-15E Instructors.

Nicole wanted to fly military jets from the moment she saw them at her first air show at five years old. While other high school students were practicing for their driver’s licenses, Nicole was accumulating flight time – she was sixteen years old when she took her first solo flight. While in high school, she joined the Civil Air Patrol and participated in Air Force Junior ROTC. Nicole earned her commission from the United States Air Force Academy in 1996. Following graduation, she attended Undergraduate Pilot Training and was competitively selected to fly the F-15E Strike Eagle—she was amongst the first group of women to fly modern fighter aircraft.

On the ground, Nicole was a White House Fellow, class of 2008-2009, where she served on the Presidential Transition Support Team (PTST). She also served as the Executive Director of the White House’s national “Joining Forces” initiative where she directly advised former First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden on all topics relating to service members, veterans, and military families.

Nicole earned a Master of Arts, with honors, in National Security Policy from American Military University and a second Master of Arts, with highest distinction, in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. While there, she earned the Admiral Stephen B. Luce Award as the class honor graduate, the first Air Force officer in the history of the Naval War College to do so. Nicole has been recognized with several honors for her consistent contributions to community service, and was inducted into the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame in 2008.  She was also instrumental in the passage of the 2009 law awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Women Airforce Service Pilots for their service during WWII.

As Nicole raises her twins and continues to recover from her neurological tick-borne illness, she embraces any opportunity to educate others about this growing epidemic. She is on the Board of Directors at the LivLyme Foundation and is a Patient Advisory Board Member of The Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness.

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Rose O’Neill: (1874-1944)

As a successful artist, writer, businesswoman, and philanthropist, Rose boldly assisted with the activities   of the woman suffrage movements coordinated by the National Woman’s Suffrage Association headquartered in New York City.  From 1914-1918, O’Neill was well known as a “suffrage artist” during the suffrage campaigns in the United States.  Her art was used for suffrage posters, flyers, and postcards that were circulated throughout the United States.   The National Woman Suffrage Association selected women leaders to represent each of the various career fields for a Fourth of July celebration at the City College Stadium.  O’Neill carried the “Illustrator” banner to represent women artists in their skit “Woman Suffrage Victory 1917 for New York State.” 

O’Neill’s fashion illustrations were first published in Art-in-Dress magazine in the early 1890’s.  Years later,

the March 1911 Good Housekeeping article featured fashion comments from “The Views of Distinguished Artists” to answer the question, “Are The Fashions Ugly?”  O’Neill’s illustrations and article referenced corsets, “When woman runs again on noble, flat feet, and bends like Atalanta stooping for the golden apples, she will be beautiful once more, as of old.”   

April 25, 1915, The New York Press article, “Leg Emancipation Women’s New Plea,” announced O’Neill’s participation as a judge on the Polymuriel Prize Fund Committee of New York.  The article references her innovative fashion drawing depicting feminine, flowing, silky trousers that were covered with a tunic.  O’Neill explained, “It is quite time that a decisive stroke was struck for the freedom of women, not only as regards to the suffrage question, and, of course, I am very keen on that, but on other matters.  The first step is to free women from the yoke of modern fashions and modern dress.  How can they hope to compete with men when they are boxed up tight in the clothes that are worn today?”

The New York Historical Society Nov 3, 2017-Mar 25, 2018 Hotbed exhibit included some of her participation in the suffrage movement.  Her striking suffrage poster, Together for Home and Family, several of her suffrage postcards along with a photo of Rose marching in a suffrage parade and a photo of her in the Washington Square apartment were included in the exhibit.

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Louise Slaughter: (1929-2018)

To have met Louise Slaughter is to have known a force of nature. She was a relentless advocate for Western New York whose visionary leadership brought infrastructure upgrades, technology and research investments, and two federal manufacturing institutes to Rochester that will transform the local economy for generations to come. As the first chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, Louise blazed a path that many women continue to follow. It is difficult to find a segment of society that Louise didn’t help shape over the course of more than thirty years in Congress, from health care to genetic nondiscrimination to historic ethics reforms. 

Slaughter was born in Harlan County, Kentucky August 14, 1929, and graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and a Master of Science degree in Public Health. After graduate school, she worked conducting “field research” for the Procter and Gamble Co. After their marriage in 1956, Louise and her husband, Robert “Bob” Slaughter, moved to the village of Fairport, New York. She and Bob were married for 57 years, until his passing in 2014.

She was elected to Congress in 1986. Prior to that, Slaughter served in the New York State Assembly from 1982 to 1986 and the Monroe County Legislature between 1976 and 1979. While holding elected office, she was regional coordinator to Mario Cuomo from 1976 to 1978 while he served as secretary of state and from 1979 to 1982 while he served as lieutenant governor. 

Slaughter delivered results for Monroe County, securing major infrastructure investments, bringing high-tech companies to Eastman Business Park, and working to make Rochester a national leader in advanced manufacturing. She secured two federal manufacturing institutes for Rochester over three years: Slaughter led a more than three-year effort to create the federal photonics institute and to ensure that Rochester became the consortium’s national headquarters. After another vigorous Slaughter lobbying effort, she then announced in 2017 that an RIT-led consortium won a competition by the U.S. Department of Energy to headquarter a new public-private clean energy manufacturing institute.   

The Rochester Amtrak station, opened in 2017, was made possible by more than $18 million in Slaughter-secured funding, including a $15 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration through the highly competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Program. In her honor, Amtrak re-named the station “The Louise M. Slaughter Rochester Station,” in January 2019. She also spearheaded reconnecting Rochester by filling in the Inner Loop, securing nearly $20 million for the project. This includes a $17.7 million TIGER grant secured in August of 2013 to bring the Eastern section of the Inner Loop to grade. The grant was the third largest TIGER grant in the nation at that time.

For ten years, Slaughter’s congressional district included portions of Orleans, Erie, and Niagara Counties. She secured funding for the new Niagara Falls train station and delivered on critical environmental protections for the cities of Niagara Falls, Lewiston, Tonawanda, and Buffalo. Slaughter, longtime co-chair of the bipartisan Great Lakes Task Force, led the multi-year effort to secure more than $1.2 billion for Great Lakes preservation and restoration. A former blues and jazz singer, she was co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Arts Caucus and championed numerous arts and cultural initiatives throughout her career.

Slaughter worked tirelessly in Congress to hold elected officials and other public servants to the highest ethical standards. In 2006, Slaughter authored the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, one of the most important ethics bills in a generation. This law bans insider trading and dramatically increases transparency for federal officials, including members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, and the president of the United States. After her six year fight and a groundswell of public support following a 60 Minutes investigation, the legislation was passed and signed into law on April 4, 2012. She went on to introduce legislation to reform the ethics guidelines for Supreme Court justices and bring transparency to the political intelligence industry. In September 2018, her colleagues voted to re-name the STOCK Act  the “Louise McIntosh Slaughter Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act.”

The only microbiologist in Congress, Slaughter authored the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), leading the bill for fourteen years before it finally passed Congress and was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008. With the passage of GINA, individuals no longer have to fear their health insurance premiums skyrocketing or their boss making hiring or firing decisions based on a genetic predisposition to a condition they may or may not ever develop. The late Senator Ted Kennedy described GINA as “the first civil rights act of the 21st century.”

Slaughter also introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act to prevent a nightmarish post-antibiotic future by saving eight critical classes of antibiotics from being routinely fed to healthy animals, reserving them only for sick humans and sick animals. She sponsored this legislation for the past four terms in office and was responsible for consumer education that has led to increased corporate responsibility. Slaughter continued to rail against the bipartisan failure to take the bold action necessary to save antibiotics and considered it her primary unfinished legislative business. 

Throughout her time in Congress, Slaughter also fought to ensure equal access to quality education for all Americans. In one of her first major actions as a member of Congress, Slaughter helped ensure that the McKinney-Vento Homeless Housing Assistance Act, the first federal law regarding homelessness, did not neglect children. She ensured that homeless children could continue to attend the same schools even if their family moved to a shelter out of the school district.

As one of the longest-serving women in the House of Representatives, Slaughter was a prominent voice for women and diversity. She was the co-chair and founding member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, which works to promote reproductive health and protect a woman’s right to choose. Slaughter wrote and successfully fought for the passage of legislation that guarantees women and minorities are included in all federal health trials, established the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and secured the first $500 million in federal funding for breast cancer research at the NIH. 

Slaughter also co-authored the landmark Violence Against Women Act, which has reduced cases of domestic violence by 67 percent since 1994. She championed reauthorization campaigns and recently stood with local advocates and law enforcement to urge the Republican Congress to swiftly pass an extension that includes expansive protections  of Native Americans, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ people.

She fought against the bigoted Defense of Marriage Act and was one of only 67 members of Congress to vote against DOMA in 1996.

On January 12, 2007, Slaughter called to order her first meeting of the Committee on Rules as chair. At the time she said, “This is an important body, one charged with upholding the standards of our House and ensuring that the will of the American people is done here. It is a big responsibility, but I know that we are ready for it.” During the 110th Congress, Slaughter helped House Democrats pass more than 230 key measures, more than 70 percent of which had significant bipartisan support. The 111th Congress was heralded as “one of the most productive Congresses in history” by congressional scholar Norman Ornstein.

As chairwoman from 2007-2011, Slaughter was able to bring key pieces of legislation to the House Floor for a vote, including a bill that raised the federal minimum wage, the Post-9/11 Veterans Assistance Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Affordable Care Act, the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. A more complete list of accomplishments can be found below. 

In 2015, Slaughter was honored for her service on the Rules Committee during the hanging of her official portrait in the Capitol. 

At the time, President Barack Obama said of Slaughter, “Louise Slaughter has proudly served in Congress for nearly three decades. As Chairwoman of the Rules Committee, she has shepherded landmark legislation like the Affordable Care Act, the Recovery Act, and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act through the House, and millions of Americans are better off because of it.”   

Slaughter took particular pride in delivering strong constituent services over her three decades in Congress while never losing touch with the people she represented. She continued to live in the same house in Fairport where she and her husband raised their three children and where she continued to welcome grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Despite all of her accomplishments, she was always fondly known by constituents simply as, “Louise.”   

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Sonia Sotomayor: (1954- )

Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, was born in Bronx, New York, on June 25, 1954. She earned a B.A. in 1976 from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and receiving the university’s highest academic honor. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She thereafter served as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office from 1979–1984. She then litigated international commercial matters in New York City at Pavia & Harcourt, where she was an associate and then partner from 1984–1992. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992–1998. She then served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998–2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role August 8, 2009.

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Laurie Spiegel: (1945- )

Composer Laurie Spiegel’s music draws on her classical training, pre-classical lute and folk banjo roots, but she is also a computer programmer, software designer and visual and video artist and often-published theorist. She is known worldwide for her pioneering work with several early electronic and computer music systems. Her focus with them has been largely on interactive software that uses algorithmic logic as a supplement to human abilities, facilitating creative expression for far more people than traditional elite musical training previously allowed, and on the aesthetics of musical structure and cognitive process.

Her best known work includes her 1970s music, created on computers at Bell Telephone Labs, early work (c. 1980) in the online transmission of digital music, a realization of Kepler’s Harmony of the World that went up on the Voyager spacecraft’s golden record, and Music Mouse – An Intelligent Instrument for Macintosh, Amiga and Atari computers. Although she is often grouped with the Minimalists due to the modal, drone and rhythmic aspects of her early LP record The Expanding Universe, her recent music is often considerably darker and more complex, as her later CDs Unseen Worlds and Obsolete Systems show. She has lived and worked in Lower Manhattan since the mid-1970s, and has taught at Cooper Union and NYU, where she founded the computer music studio in 1981. Her writings, have been published by MIT, Cambridge and Oxford University Presses and her visual art has been shown in various galleries in the US and abroad. She is also among the very first women to have composed soundtracks for films.

In addition to her work in the arts, Spiegel is also a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, caring for animals who otherwise face the difficulties humanity is increasing creating.

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Flossie Wong-Staal: (1947-  )

Dr. Flossie Wong-Staal is a world renowned molecular biologist and virologist and one of the pioneers in research on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the causative agent of the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). She and her team of scientists at the US National Cancer Institute were the first to molecularly clone HIV and to elucidate the complex structure of its genome. This accomplishment was instrumental in proving HIV to be the cause of AIDS, and in the subsequent development of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for the disease. They were also the first to show that HIV is highly heterogeneous in the patient population, forecasting the importance of combination (cocktail) therapy to combat AIDS.

Dr. Wong-Staal, nee Wong Yee Ching, was born in Guangzhou, China. When she was four, her family moved to Hong Kong where she attended Maryknoll Sisters’ School, an all-girls Catholic high school operated by American nuns. She credits her Maryknoll teachers and her parents for encouraging her to pursue a college education even though not many young women of her generation and background had chosen this path. She obtained a Bachelor degree in Bacteriology (1968) and a Ph. D. in Molecular Biology (1972), both from UCLA. In 1973, she joined Dr. Robert Gallo’s laboratory at the National Cancer Institute as a Research Fellow. During that time, she became interested in the class of viruses called retroviruses, which were then powerful tools in molecular biology. Furthermore, she was also enamored of the idea that retroviruses could be potential pathogens in human disease. This notion, though initially not very popular among leading scientists, was later validated in the case of AIDS and certain human leukemias. Dr. Wong-Staal has published more than 400 papers on the subject of human retroviruses and AIDS. In 1990, based on the citation index of her published work, she was selected by the Institute for Scientific Information as the top woman scientist of the previous decade. She has received numerous honors and awards, and has membership in the US National Academy of Medicine and the Academia Sinica of Taiwan.

Dr. Wong-Staal has pursued her passion for biomedical research through the diverse lenses of Government, Academia and Industry. In 1990, she left her position as Section Chief at the National Cancer Institute and returned to California to assume the Riford Chair in AIDS Research and Professorship in the Departments of Biology and Medicine at UCSD. Later, she became Director of the AIDS Research Institute and co-Director of the Center for AIDS Research at UCSD. In 2002, she left academia to direct research at biotechnology companies focused on applying novel approaches to target cancer and viral infections including HIV and
HCV. In addition to research in these various settings, she has also enjoyed mentoring young scientists from all over the world, many of whom have become accomplished scientists in their own right.

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