Nina V. Fedoroff
Born (1942-04-09) April 9, 1942 (age 82)
Alma mater
Scientific career
ThesisPurification and Properties of Bacteriophage f2 Replicase (1972)
Doctoral advisorNorton Zinder

Nina Vsevolod Fedoroff (born April 9, 1942) is an American molecular biologist known for her research in life sciences and biotechnology, especially transposable elements or jumping genes.[1] and plant stress response.[2][3] In 2007, President George W. Bush awarded her the National Medal of Science, she is also a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[2] the European Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Microbiology.[4]

Early Days

Fedoroff, whose father was a Russian immigrant to the US and her mother a first generation immigrant, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her first language was Russian.[5] When she was nine years old her family moved to Fayetteville, New York, a suburb of the city of Syracuse.

She then relocated to Philadelphia where she planned to study music but returned to study science at Syracuse University.[5] She graduated summa cum laude in 1966 from Syracuse University with a dual major in biology and chemistry.[6][7][8] She received her PhD in molecular biology 1972 from The Rockefeller University.[9]

Research career

Fedoroff talks about the importance and function of jumping genes.

After graduating from Rockefeller University in 1972[9] she joined the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles, where she did research into nuclear RNA.[10] She moved in 1978[9] to the Carnegie Institution for Science in Baltimore, Maryland, worked on developmental biology at the Department of Embryology, where she pioneered DNA sequencing and worked out the nucleotide sequence of the first complete gene.[10] In 1978, she also joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University Biology Department, where she worked on the molecular characterization of maize transposable elements or jumping genes, for which Barbara McClintock was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1983.[10]

Academic positions

In 1995, Fedoroff arrived at Pennsylvania State University as the Verne M. Willaman professor of Life Sciences and founded and directed the organization now known as the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.[11] In 2002, she was appointed an Evan Pugh professor, the university's highest academic honor.[9][12] In 2013 Federoff was a distinguished visiting professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST),[13] and a member of the external faculty of the Santa Fe Institute.[4][10]


In 1990, Fedoroff was honored with the Howard Taylor Ricketts Award from University of Chicago,[11] and in 1992 she received the New York Academy of Sciences Outstanding Contemporary Women Scientist Award.[11] In 1997, Fedoroff received the John P. McGovern Science and Society Medal from Sigma Xi.[9] In 2003, she was awarded Syracuse University's George Arents Pioneer medal.[8]

In 2001, President Bill Clinton appointed Fedoroff to the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation.[11] which administers the science awards. Fedoroff was Science and Technology Adviser to U.S. Secretaries of State, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton[6][14] and from 2007 to 2010 to the administrator Rajiv Shah for the United States Agency for International Development.[15] In 2007, President George W. Bush awarded her the National Medal of Science in the field of Biological Sciences, the highest award for lifetime achievement in scientific research in the United States.[11] Fedoroff was President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) from 2011 to 2012.[16] She is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[2] the European Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Microbiology.[4]

Private life

Fedoroff has three children and seven grandchildren. She enjoys music, theatre and singing.[3][5] Fedoroff was a single mother, and although she was studying and trying to make a living, she was able to raise two of her three children alone.[17]


This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (December 2016)


Essays and reporting

See also


  1. ^ Dreifus, Claudia (2008-08-18). "An Advocate for Science Diplomacy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-05-04.
  2. ^ a b c Friedberg, E. C. (2008). "Nina Fedoroff". Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology. 9 (10): 744–745. doi:10.1038/nrm2511. PMID 18819172. S2CID 30721901.
  3. ^ a b Elder, Andy (Fall 2002) Faces of Penn State, 2002: Nina Fedoroff Archived 2017-02-02 at the Wayback Machine Pennsylvania State University, PennState Eberly College of Science, Retrieved 14 May 2012
  4. ^ a b c Fagan, Adam (22 February 2011) Plant Biologist Nina Fedoroff Assumes AAAS Presidency American Society of Plant Biologists, Press release, Retrieved 14 May 2012
  5. ^ a b c Nina Fedoroff, Class of 1960, Inducted in 2009 Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine Fayette-Manlius Schools Hall of Distinction Inductees, Retrieved 2 March 2014
  6. ^ a b Winne Alvarez, Jaime (July 25, 2007). "SU alumna, new National Medal of Science recipient, named science and technology adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice". SU News. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Women in science and University Syracuse University - Nina Vsevolod Fedoroff". Syracuse University, Syracuse NY 13210. 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
  8. ^ a b "Syracuse University to Award 4 Honorary Degrees at 2022 Commencement". Syracuse University News. 28 April 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d e Department Of State. The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs (2007-07-26). "Fedoroff, Nina V." Retrieved 2022-05-04.
  10. ^ a b c d "Nina Fedoroff | Santa Fe Institute". Retrieved 2022-05-04.
  11. ^ a b c d e Staff, Fedoroff to Receive National Medal of Science Pennsylvania State University, PennState Eberly College of Science, 2007 News, Retrieved 14 May 2012
  12. ^ "The Huck Institutes". Retrieved 2022-05-04.
  13. ^ (2013)Nina Fedoroff: Director, Center for Desert Agriculture, Distinguished Professor, Bioscience Archived 2013-08-11 at the Wayback Machine Faculty of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Retrieved 12 August 2013
  14. ^ Pincus, Erica (22 December 2014). "The Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State". Science & Diplomacy. 3 (4).
  15. ^ Staff, Nina Fedoroff, Professor of Life Sciences, Pennsylvania State University Archived 2012-03-07 at the Wayback Machine The Economist Conferences 2012, Retrieved 14 May 2012
  16. ^ "Nina Fedoroff: 21st-Century Challenges Require Global Focus by Scientists". Science. 331 (6016): 422–425. 28 January 2011. Bibcode:2011Sci...331..422.. doi:10.1126/science.331.6016.422.
  17. ^ Dreifus, Claudia (2008-08-18). "Nina Fedoroff, Advocate for Science Diplomacy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-15.