biology of protein synthesis, protein processing, and developmental neuroscience. As a science administrator, she has been vice president for research at Northwestern University in Illinois and the vice president for research and chief operating officer of Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Masschussetts. Dr. Villa-Komaroff has served on several National Research Council committees. She is a current member of Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine and was a member of the Committee on U.S. Competitiveness: Underrepresented Groups and Expansion of the Science and Engineering Workforce Pipeline. She was elected to a 4-year term on the Board of Directors of AAAS and was non-executive chair of the Board of Directors of Transkaryotic Therapies. She is a founding member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science and has served as both a board member and vice president of the organization. Dr. Villa-Komaroff received her A.B. from Goucher College and her Ph.D. from MIT.

Susan Wessler (NAS)*

Susan Wessler is distinguished professor of genetics in the Department of Botany & Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. Born in New York City, Dr. Wessler earned her bachelor’s degree in biology with honors from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1974. She received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cornell University in 1980, and was a postdoctoral fellow of the American Cancer Society at the Carnegie Institution from 1980-1982. From 1983-2010, Wessler was in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Georgia at Athens, where she was assistant, associate, full professor and finally regents professor. Dr. Wessler was elected to membership in the NAS in 1998 and was elected in 2004 to the Council of the National Academies. She was elected as NAS Home Secretary in 2011. She is a fellow of AAAS and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the recipient of Distinguished Scientist Award (2007) from the Southeastern Universities Research Association, the Stephen Hales Prize (2010) from the American Association of Plant Biology and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Excellence in Science Award (2012). Her scientific interest focuses on the subject of plant transposable elements and the evolution of plant genomes.


*Denotes members of the National Academy of Science (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and Institute of Medicine (IOM).

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