Susan Lee Lindquist. With permission from Ceal Capistrano/Whitehead Institute.
The scientific community is deeply saddened by the passing of Susan Lee Lindquist, Professor of Biology at MIT and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, on October 27 after a year‐long battle with cancer. Her nearly 40‐year career was distinguished by groundbreaking research in cell biology and genetics, and by an extraordinary passion for nurturing and mentoring the next generation of biologists.
An inspiring and courageous innovator, Susan Lindquist has tackled and resolved a remarkable variety of difficult problems, ranging from delineating cellular responses to stress, prion‐based inheritance, and the role of protein misfolding in disease to uncovering genetic variation in evolution. Her interdisciplinary vision has empowered her to devise entirely new experimental approaches and create novel conceptual frameworks in several fields.
Susan Lindquist's work began with pioneering studies of the heat‐shock response, a homeostatic mechanism to protect cells from protein folding problems during heat exposure and a variety of other stresses. As a graduate student of Matthew Meselson at Harvard in the 1970s, she launched, on her own initiative, an investigation of the heat‐shock response, using it as a model to understand eukaryotic gene regulation. She discovered that the heat‐shock response, previously only known from Drosophila salivary glands, also occurred in tissue culture cells, demonstrating its generality and making it tractable to molecular analysis. She then revealed that the response was governed by a combination of translational and transcriptional mechanisms. Thanks in large part to her …
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