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Duke cell biologist named new president of MIT

Sally Kornbluth, a cell biologist who has spent the past eight years as provost at Duke University, was named president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday.

Kornbluth, 61, was elected by the MIT Corporation, the school’s governing body.

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She will officially take over on Jan. 1, succeeding L. Rafael Reif, who in February announced that he planned to step down after 10 years on the job.

Kornbluth has been on the Duke faculty since 1994, and is currently a professor of biology. As provost at the North Carolina school since 2014, Kornbluth was responsible for carrying out Duke’s teaching and research missions; developing its intellectual priorities; and partnering with others to improve faculty and students. She oversaw admissions, financial aid, libraries, and all other facets of academic and student life.

“The ethos of MIT, where groundbreaking research and education are woven into the DNA of the institution, is thrilling to me,” Kornbluth said in a statement released by MIT. “The primary role of academic leadership is in attracting outstanding scholars and students, and in supporting their important work. And when it comes to the impact of that work, MIT is unparalleled — in the power of its innovations, in its ability to move those innovations into the world, and in its commitment to discovery, creativity, and excellence.”

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