Scientist Dads Step Up

The Human Genome Project officially came to a close in June 2003. For Chad Nusbaum, co-director of the Genome Sequencing and Analysis program at the Broad Institute of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, the event was a professional milestone. It was also a personal milestone: It meant he could devote more time to — his words — his own “little genome project.” Later that year, the senior scientist took off almost 2 months to bond with his newborn son. Nusbaum’s wife is a tenured professor at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and they took full advantage of Brandeis’s day care facility, but Nusbaum became their only child’s primary caregiver right from the start.

To do justice to his new role, Nusbaum altered his work schedule. Twelve-to-fourteen-hour workdays were no longer viable. The nature of his research allowed him to work from home after his son went to sleep, so he did that regularly. Today, Nusbaum leaves work early on Tuesdays to take his son to karate. He packs his son’s school lunch every day; cream cheese and jelly sandwiches are the first-grader’s favorite, Nusbaum says.

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