<p>Sarah Schlesinger</p>

A little over a year after AIDS researcher Sarah Schlesinger returned to New York City in 2002 to take a job at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), she got a call to run one of the first DNA-based vaccine trials designed to prevent HIV infection. It was a bit of a career coming full-circle: The job offer came from David Ho and her old boss and mentor, Ralph Steinman at The Rockefeller University, where Schlesinger began her career at age 17, working in Steinman's lab through college and medical school.

Schlesinger, now 44, knew as a teenager growing up in nearby Scarsdale, NY, that she wanted to be a doctor. That was a given in a family where her grandmother was among the first class of women admitted to train at Bellevue Hospital – a building Schlesinger passes every day on her way to work at Aaron...

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