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Helen Yin, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Physiology
  • Associate Dean, Office of Women's Careers
  • Inaugural Margaret Yin Chair for the Advancement of Women Faculty
  • Peter and Jean D. Dehlinger Professorship in Biomedical Science
  • UT Distinguished Teaching Professor
"Be fearless and make a difference."

Early Influences

Dr. Yin traces the roots of her STEMM career to a series of mentors in her formative years.

“Growing up in Hong Kong, my first exposure to science was when an ‘honored guest’ visited my kindergarten class. He turned a beaker of pink water colorless by mixing in a few drops of a mystery liquid. I was hooked!”

After coming to the U.S. for college, Dr. Yin worked for three summers in the Eaton-Peabody Laboratory of Auditory Physiology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Dr. Nelson Yuan-Sheng Kiang, Ph.D., Founding Director of the laboratory “opened my eyes to the potential impact of basic science and interdisciplinary collaborations on human health. He encouraged me to apply to graduate school at Harvard. In retrospect, this early imprinting planted the seed for my STEMM journey as a scientist, educator, and administrator.”

Breakthroughs in Research

In 1979, Dr. Yin discovered gelsolin, the first actin filament-severing protein identified. This finding set the stage for future research relating to actin scaffolding. She further sought to understand the roles that lipids play in cytoskeletal regulation and other cell functions.

Taking Calculated Risks

Success, however, is not achieved without encountering challenges along the way – something Dr. Yin knows well. “I took many risks in starting the Mechanisms of Disease and Translational Science Graduate Track at a time when the emphasis was on ‘molecular science,’ as well as in moving on to a role as Associate Dean of Women’s Careers,” she explained.

Additionally, she established the Leadership Emerging in Academic Departments (LEAD), the first of its kind at UT Southwestern, together with Associate Dean of Faculty Development, Byron Cryer, M.D. (Dr. Cryer holds the endowed title of John C. Vanatta III Professorship.)

She touts “the ability to create new programs, take risks, mentor junior and mid-career faculty, and connect with senior colleagues,” as her favorite aspects of working at UT Southwestern.

“Here I navigate unknown territories while pursuing an entirely new career.”

Advocacy for Women in STEMM

Dr. Yin was a founding member of the Women in Science and Medicine Advisory Committee (WISMAC). Today, she is a dedicated champion of women in science and medicine. As the Associate Dean of the Office of Women’s Careers, she is focused on equity, inclusion, mentoring and sponsoring of our women faculty. As a member of the Steering Committee of the AAMC Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS), she is an advocate for diversity and inclusion of women in academic medical centers nationally.

The Celebrating Breakthroughs Together Project “has been my dream since I joined the Office of Women’s Careers in 2013.” Dr. Yin believes that “this project is particularly timely, because with the realization that ‘Walls can Speak Volumes,’ there is a national movement of diversity honor walls in academic institutions."

"I am so glad UT Southwestern is partnering with our IF/THEN Ambassadors to showcase the contemporary and diverse face of STEMM, and to inspire young girls and boys to embrace STEMM.”

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