Martha L. Gray PhD ’86, director of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, announced in November that she will leave the position at the end of the academic year.
Gray will be the second of HST’s two co-directors to depart from HST in a year, following Professor Joseph V. Bonventre, who stepped down in June. Like Bonventre, Gray will continue to work as a full-time researcher at HST, and she retains her MIT appointment as Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical and Electrical Engineering.
During her 12-year term, Gray helped shape new educational programs and recruit more than 60 permanent faculty members to what was once a volunteer-only organization.
“Institutions around the country and now the world are looking at HST as a model for education and research that spans disciplines, specialties and professions,” Gray said in an e-mail interview. “I’m excited about a future where collaboration is the norm and where it is commonplace for physicians, scientists, engineers and business people to work together to tackle and solve our most challenging medical problems.”
Under Gray and Bonventre, HST expanded from a graduate program in medicine and engineering to a program with interdisciplinary initiatives like the Biomedical Enterprise Program, which grants dual degrees in health science and management with the Sloan school, and the Graduate Education in Medical Sciences training program, which gives graduate students from other departments additional training in medicine. The two directors also helped start the Biomatrix mentoring program for undergraduates interested in the health sciences.
“I am proud of what we have built together over the past decade and, as we enter the next, it seems a natural and opportune time to turn over the reins to new leadership,” Gray wrote in an e-mail to the HST community in November.
A search committee comprised of HST faculty members, chaired by Professor Emery N. Brown, will identify candidates to replace Gray. Because HST operates under two equal co-directors — and the other current director, David E. Cohen, hails from Harvard — Gray’s replacement will “most likely” come from MIT, said Bonventre.
Bonventre, who served alongside Gray for his entire eight-year term as director, said that Gray has forged a legacy of fierce advocacy for HST’s 400-plus student body. “She’s always been focused on students and what’s best for them and presenting opportunities for them,” Bonventre said.
Cohen said he envisions further growth to follow in this spirit of integration and collaboration. Among other things, he mentioned making real-world experience more available for students by leveraging the presence of HST alumni in place at local hospitals, as well as establishing a relationship with Harvard’s developing bioengineering program.
“There are more challenges ahead — and more opportunities,” Cohen said.