H. Kim Bottomly, Wellesley’s 13th president, is the first scientist to lead the College and the first president inaugurated in the 21st century.
A Montana native, Bottomly graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in zoology and earned her doctorate in biological structure from the University of Washington School of Medicine. Before joining the Yale faculty in 1980, she did postdoctoral work in immunology at the National Institutes of Health.
A lifelong scientist and educator, Bottomly’s research has focused on the molecular and cellular factors that influence the initiation of immune responses. She pioneered studies defining cellular changes associated with allergic and asthmatic responses. Her research investigated how people respond to allergens and why inhaled allergens lead to lung injury. She has been the principal investigator on many grants from the National Institutes of Health and other research organizations, which supported her laboratory at the Yale School of Medicine. She has published more than 170 peer-reviewed articles and has lectured widely at universities in the United States and around the world.
Bottomly has served on the Immunobiology Study Section at the National Institutes of Health and the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. She received the highly selective National Institutes of Health MERIT award. She was an editor of the scholarly journal, Immunity, and was a section editor and associate editor of the Journal of Immunology. In addition to extensive committee service for the American Association of Immunologists, she was the distinguished lecturer at its 2004 annual meeting. She has contributed to many scientific and medical advisory boards and consulted for several large pharmaceutical companies.
A respected educator, Bottomly served on the Yale University faculty for 27 years. In her role as deputy provost for science, technology, and faculty development at Yale, she oversaw academic, administrative, and budgetary activities for a range of departments and divisions. She initiated efforts to enhance faculty career development and spearheaded Yale’s efforts to recruit and retain women in the sciences and underrepresented minorities in all fields. An advocate for women in science, Bottomly has chaired the Committee on Status of Women of the American Association of Immunologists and the Women’s Committee of the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biologists. She served on the steering committee for Yale’s Women Faculty Forum.
The University of Washington named her one of their “Wondrous 100,” one of the top 100 alumni of the past century. An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, she serves on the Olin College of Engineering President’s Council, the Teach for America Champions’ Board, and the WGBH Board of Trustees. In 2010 she participated in the Aspen Ideas Festival and served on advisory committees of the National Cancer Advisory Board and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2011, she received an honorary degree from Japan Women’s University.
Bottomly is married to Wayne Villemez, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Connecticut. From an earlier marriage to the late Charles Janeway, she has two daughters, a stepdaughter, and twin granddaughters.