Shirley Tilghman

President Emerita
Professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs
Email Address:
Office Location: 
240 Carl C. Icahn Laboratory

Shirley M. Tilghman was elected Princeton University’s 19th president on May 5, 2001.  An exceptional teacher and world-renowned scholar and leader in the field of molecular biology, she served on the Princeton faculty for 15 years before being named president.  During her tenure the university expanded its undergraduate and graduate student bodies, and instituted a four-year college system.  She oversaw the creation of major new academic programs, including the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and the Lewis Center for the Arts. Upon the completion of her term in June of 2013, she returned to the faculty.

During her scientific career as a mammalian developmental geneticist, she studied the way in which genes are organized in the genome and regulated during early development.  A member of the National Research Council’s committee that set the blueprint for the United States effort in the Human Genome Project, she also was one of the founding members of the National Advisory Council of the Human Genome Project for the National Institutes of Health.  Tilghman was appointed an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1988, and in 1998 was named the founding director of Princeton’s multidisciplinary Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.  She is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Developmental Biology, the Genetics Society of America Medal, and the L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science.  She is a member of the American Philosophical Society, The National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and The Royal Society of London.  She serves as a trustee of Amherst College, The Broad Institute, and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, as a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation, and as a director of Alphabet Inc.