“Follow your heart, follow your passion.”
Through the airplane window 19-year-old Nancy Chang watched Taiwan disappear beneath her. To pass the time on the long trip to the United States, where she was to attend Brown University, she opened a copy of The Double Helix, James Watson’s first-person account of discovering the structure of DNA. Sixteen hours later the plane touched down in Boston. Chang had made up her mind: she would study biology.
Chang went on to study at Harvard Medical School as one of the school’s first international students. She received a Ph.D. in biological chemistry and became one of the world’s most successful biotech businesswomen after cofounding Tanox (now part of Genentech), a company that sought remedies for asthma and allergies through the use of genetics engineering.
- Read a feature article about women and pharmaceutical science in the 17th-century from CHF's magazine, Chemical Heritage.
- Nancy Chang won the 2012 Biotechnology Heritage Award from CHF and the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Read more.
- Read the film transcript.