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Science superstar Handelsman
named to White House post

In the world of Yale science, Jo Handelsman is a triple threat, noted for her research, teaching, and advocacy. Now she can add "White House nominee" to her résumé.

President Barack Obama will nominate Handelsman, a professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, as associate director for science at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the White House announced July 31. It's a full-time staff position; if confirmed by the Senate, Handelsman will take a leave of absence from the Yale faculty, she says by e-mail.

In the lab, Handelsman studies insect guts. But her research also probes human gut reactions: in a highly publicized study last year, she found that male and female scientists subconsciously favored a fictional job applicant named John over an identical applicant named Jennifer. That finding landed her a spot on Nature magazine's list of 10 people who mattered.

Along with her advocacy for women in science, Handelsman works to "transform science education at Yale and beyond." Those efforts won her a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in 2011.

In a Yale release this week, Handelsman calls the White House nomination “an enormous opportunity that I felt I just could not pass up."

Filed under Jo Handelsman, White House, science
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