Melton and Henderson Named University Professors

The stem-cell biology specialist and the scholar of organizational change are honored for wide-ranging work.

Douglas Melton and Rebecca Henderson

Harvard announced today that Douglas Melton and Rebecca M. Henderson have been appointed to named University Professorships.

Melton, heretofore Cabot professor of the natural sciences, is also a Harvard College Professor (an honor conferred for outstanding teaching). He has been a leading scientist in and advocate for the field of stem cell biology ever since switching from the study of developmental biology when his young son, and later his daughter, were diagnosed with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes; he co-chairs the department of stem cell and regenerative biology, and co-directs the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Henderson, formerly Heinz professor of environmental management at Harvard Business School, joined the faculty there in 2009, after 21 years of service at MIT's Sloan School. She studies how organizations respond to change, particularly to challenges posed by changes in the related fields of energy and the environment, and also co-directs the Business and Environment Initiative at Harvard Business School.

In the University announcement, President Drew Faust said:

In the lab and in the field, as well as in the classroom, Professors Henderson and Melton have provided superior examples of the work of the Harvard faculty. Rebecca Henderson was one of the first to recognize that profits and sustainability are not mutually exclusive, and that there are growth opportunities for companies that are committed to reducing their environmental footprints. Hers is a leading voice on the environmental challenges of our time.

While the world knows Doug Melton as a scientist who has played a seminal role in the exponential growth of the new field of stem cell science, we at Harvard also know him as an untiring mentor to scientific leaders of tomorrow, and as an academic who is passionate about improving undergraduate education.

Henderson becomes the John and Natty McArthur University Professor, a chair established in honor of the former Harvard Business School dean and his wife; it was previously occupied by Nobel laureate Robert C. Merton, who retired from Harvard in mid 2010 and rejoined the Sloan School, where he had previously been a faculty member. Melton, who is co-master of Eliot House with his wife, Gail A. O’Keefe, becomes the Xander University Professor, apparently a newly endowed chair.

Read more on stem cell biology, the ethical debates it has engendered, and Melton’s career from the Harvard Magazine archives:

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