Susan Lindquist is a member and former Director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, which she guided as the Whitehead Genome Center was transformed into the neighboring Broad Institute.
She is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in biology from Harvard and was a postdoctoral fellow of the American Cancer Society. She was named the Albert D. Lasker Professor of Medical Sciences in 1999 at the University of Chicago. A pioneer in the study of protein folding, she established that protein homeostasis has profound and completely unexpected effects on normal biology and disease.
She found that the chaperone Hsp90 potentiates and buffers the effects of genetic variation, fueling evolutionary mechanisms as diverse as malignant transformation and the emergence of drug resistance. Her work established the molecular basis for protein-based mechanisms of inheritance. More recently she has built tractable genetic models of complex protein misfolding diseases, including Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, which are providing new insights on the underlying pathogenic mechanisms.
Dr. Lindquist is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. Her honors also include the Dickson Prize in Medicine, Sigma Xi William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement, Centennial Medal of the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Otto-Warburg Prize, Genetics Society of America Medal, and FASEB Excellence in Science Award.