Nancy L. Kedersha, Ph.D.

Vault Researchers Worldwide

Nancy L. Kedersha, Ph.D.

Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Boston, MA



Nancy Kedersha was born in New Jersey, graduated high school as a member of the seminal Class of 1969, and subsequently meandered into a highly illustrated (if not illustrious) career in science. She obtained her Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1983 and thereafter spent 5 exciting years at UCLA in the laboratory of Dr. Leonard Rome. During that time, she co-discovered vaults, mysterious new cellular organelles found in organisms as divergent as humans and slime molds, whose function is still unknown (as is true for the functions of many of us) and which are currently the subject of active research in the Rome and other labs. Along the way, she perfected a type of technique used in staining and photographing cells in order to reveal their inner structures and organization; thus began her collection of "bio art" images. Subsequently she worked for ImmunoGen, Inc, a small biotech company in Cambridge MA, where her collection was greatly expanded in her studies of many different types of cancer cells. The terrible beauty of her photographs of cells has been seen in Discover, Time, Newsweek, and Le Figaro, as well as in many textbooks and museum exhibits. She is presently a member of Paul Anderson's lab in Boston, at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy (distinguished by having the longest-named division in the hospital!), where she finds herself busy, well-challenged and constantly learning new things. Her current quest centers around two RNA-binding proteins, TIA-1 and TIAR. While vaults possess very defined structure and composition, but are of unknown function, her present subjects are stress granules, entities of variable structure and composition but known function (translational silencing of selected mRNA's). Irony rules! On the personal side, her goals are to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie (her lab is the best-fed lab around), and to become Xena, Warrior Princess. She has mastered Xena's battle cry, but not the back flips (yet). Battle On!

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