Joan Ruderman, Ph. D. is the Marion V. Nelson Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, a member of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advance Study. Trained as a molecular biologist, she and her research group made several pioneering discoveries about the processes that regulate progression through mitosis, the last phase of the cell division cycle. More recently, she has turned her attention to environmental estrogens -- synthetic chemicals devised for one purpose and but subsequently found to have the surprising ability to mimic endogenous estrogens at critical life stages. Her group is currently developing a physiologically relevant, high throughput screening strategy that is suitable for testing large numbers of synthetic chemicals for estrogenic activity. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the Harvard University Center for the Environment.
Dr. Ruderman's scientific contributions have been recognized by election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and by receipt of the 2007 NYU/Dart Award in Biotechnology. She has served on several scientific boards, including Board of Trustees for the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA, and the Medical Advisory Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Bethesda, MD.
Dr. Ruderman first got involved in the activities of Breastcancer.org through discussions with Marisa Weiss on the topic of hormonally active pollutants: where do they come from and what can they do? She and Dr. Weiss are working on a series of public presentations designed to educate girls, women, their families, and health professionals about preventive measures that can diminish the risk of breast cancer, including how to reduce exposures to environmental estrogens and other hormonally active pollutants.