World leader in the study of protein folding
Susan Lindquist is a world leader in the study of protein folding. Her pioneering work has demonstrated that alternative protein conformations have profound and unexpected effects in fields as wide ranging as human disease, evolution, and biomaterials. Her work on yeast prions has provided evidence for a mechanism of protein-only inheritance and contributed to a structural understanding of amyloid fiber formation. She has shown in a variety of model systems that molecular chaperones can influence the expression and evolution of new traits by chaperoning the folding of key players in signal transduction pathways. Most recently, her group has developed new platforms for dissecting the protein-folding problems that drive neurodegenerative diseases, with the aim of discovering new therapeutic strategies based on stopping the precipitating causes of such protein-folding disorders.
Susan Lindquist is a Member and former Director (2001-2004) of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Professor of Biology at MIT. She co-founded FoldRx, a biotech company developing drug therapies for diseases of protein misfolding and amyloidosis, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Johnson & Johnson. Previously she was the Albert D. Lasker Professor of Medical Sciences (from 1999-2001), and a member of the faculty in the Department of Molecular Biology, University of Chicago. She received her undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the University of Illinois, and a PhD in Biology from Harvard University. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the American Philosophical Society and the Institute of Medicine. Her honors also include the Dickson Prize in Medicine, the Otto-Warburg Prize, the Genetics Society of America Medal, the FASEB Excellence in Science Award, the Max Delbrück Medal, the Mendel Medal and the E.B. Wilson Medal. In 2009, she was the recipient of the National Medal of Science.
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