Susan Wessler received her BA in biology from SUNY Stony Brook and her PhD from Cornell University. While she was a post-doctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington she met Barbara McClintock, an event that influenced the direction of Wessler’s research career. Wessler joined the department of plant biology at the University of Georgia in 1983. She remained there until 2010 when she moved to the University of California at Riverside. Her lab studies transposable elements and their impact on evolution.
Wessler has received numerous awards for her research including election to the National Academy of Sciences where she was recently elected the first woman Home Secretary. Wessler’s dedication to innovative, hands-on teaching has also been recognized; she is the recipient of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor grant.