Harvard Provost Steven Hyman to step down, take sabbatical at Broad

By Ellen Clegg, Broad Communications, December 15th, 2010
  • Steven E. Hyman
    (Photo by Stephanie Mitchell / Harvard Staff Photographer)

Harvard Provost Steven E. Hyman, a distinguished neuroscientist and former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, announced today that he plans to step down as provost in June 2011, after nine years as Harvard’s second highest leader.

Hyman has decided to take a one-year sabbatical at the Broad Institute, where he will be associated with the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research.

“Steve Hyman is a world-leading neuroscientist and has been an extraordinary institutional leader at both NIMH and Harvard,” Dr. Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad, said yesterday. “Steve has done a remarkable job at Harvard, steering the university through complex times and enhancing the vibrancy of science throughout the whole Harvard community.”

“We’re thrilled that he has chosen to come to the Broad for a year’s sabbatical as he plans the next stage of his career. He brings great expertise in science and leadership,” Lander said. “He also brings a truly Broadie spirit of unlimited possibilities and open collaboration.”

Hyman was one of the key architects of the Broad Institute, when it was launched in 2004 as a bold experiment in biomedicine and became a permanent institution in 2009. “Steve played a critical role in forging the agreements between Harvard, MIT, and Eli and Edythe Broad, and helped design the foundation of a successful, sustainable institution,” Lander said.

Hyman, who was Harvard’s provost for nearly a decade, served as director of NIMH from 1996 to 2001, where he focused on efforts to integrate genetics, molecular biology, neuroscience, and behavioral science into a broader understanding of mental illness.

A graduate of Yale College, he received BA and MA degrees from the University of Cambridge in 1976, and received his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1980. After an internship in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, a residency in psychiatry at McLean Hospital, and a clinical fellowship in neurology at MGH, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard in molecular biology.

Hyman, 58, was professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of psychiatry research at MGH from 1992 until 1996. Hyman is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

"He has spurred fresh thinking and important initiatives in areas ranging from the sciences to the humanities, from the museums to the libraries," Harvard President Drew Faust said in a statement. "In all of these areas and more, he has approached his role with intelligence, passion, and wit, and with a devotion to the highest academic standards.”