Nancy Chang

“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.

Learn  more

  • 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.

 

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