Susan Margaret Gasser-Wilson - Curriculum vitae#


Present position:

Director, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, and Professor of Mol. Biology, University of Basel

Higher education:
  • St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland 1974 - 1976
  • University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany 1976 - 1977
  • University of Chicago, Illinois 1977 - 1979
  • B.A. with Honors in Biological Sciences (Biophysics; M. Makinen), An EM Study of the Fiber-to-crystal Transition of Sickle Cell Hemoglobin
  • University of Basel, Switzerland 1979 - 1982, Ph.D., Magna cum laude (Biochemistry; G. Schatz), The Import of Proteins by Isolated Yeast Mitochondria

Research positions:
  • University of Basel, Postdoctoral assistant, Dept. of Biochemistry (G. Schatz) 1982
  • Univ. of Geneva, Maître assistante, Dept. of Mol. Biology (U. Laemmli) 1983 - 1986
  • Swiss Inst for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC; Junior group leader) 1986 - 1990
  • Swiss Insti for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC; Senior group leader) 1991 - 2001
  • University of Geneva, Full Professor , Department of Molecular Biology 2001 - 2004
  • Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Director since Dec 2004
  • University of Basel, Full Professor in Molecular Biology since Jan 2005

Honors:
  • National Latsis Prize (Swiss) 1991
  • Election to EMBO 1993
  • Friedrich Miescher Prize (Swiss) 1994
  • Election to Academia Europaea 1998
  • Medal of Honor from the3rd Medical Faculty of Charles University (Prague) 1999
  • Member of the Académie de France, Institut de science 2005
  • Otto Naegeli Prize for Medical Research (Swiss) 2006
  • Gregor Mendal Medal of the Czech Academy of Science 2006
  • Member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, Switzerland 2006
  • Member of the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina 2007
  • Nucleic Acid Award of the Royal Academy of Chemistry (UK) 2009

Research or advisory board memberships:
  • Member, Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation 1993-2002
  • Member, Career Development Committee of ELSO 2000-2003
  • Member, Selection Committee, SNF Career Professorship Program 2000-2009
  • Member, Grant Review Committee HFSPO, Strasbourg 2003-2005
  • Member, Selection Jury, Institut Universitaire de France (IUF), Paris 2002-2003
  • Member, Search Committee, Körber-Foundation, Hamburg 2004-2007
  • Review Board, DFG-Sonderforschungsbereich “Chromatin” 2004-2008
  • Board of Directors Gerbert Rüf Foundation, Basel since 2005
  • Advisory Board Cancer Research UK, London Research Inst since 2005
  • Advisory Group on Health Research, European Commission since 2006
  • Advisory Board, Max Planck Institute for Dev. Biology, Tübingen 2006-2008
  • Advisory Board, Center for Integrative Genomics, Lausanne since 2006
  • Panel Chairperson, European Research Council “Starting Grants” 2007
  • Advisory Board for Wellcome Trust Center for Research, Dundee since 2007
  • Advisory Board for Max Planck Institute for Immunology, Freiburg since 2007
  • Scientific Executive Board of the SystemsX.ch initiative 2007-2009
  • Member of the Nestlé Nutrition Council, Nestlé SA since 2008
  • Coordinator, EuroBioimaging.ch, since 2009

Other responsibilities:
  • Chairperson, EMBO Course Committee 1994-1998
  • Staff representative, ISREC Executive Board 1995-2001
  • Organizer, Gordon Research Conf. “Chromatin Structure and Function” 1998-2000
  • Member, Vice-President then President of the EMBO Council 2000-2005
  • Organizing committee and Chair, USGEB Meeting 2006-2007
  • Organizing committee, ASCB meeting 2008, 2007-2008

Major Research networks
  • SNF National Center for Competence in Research “Frontiers in Genetics” since 2001
  • EU Network of Excellence “Epigenome”, Member of executive board 2003-2010
  • Swiss SystemsX RTD, “Cell Plasticity in Health and Disease” , Coordinator since 2009

Editorial Boards:
  • Journal of Cell Biology 1990-1994
  • Trends in Cell Biology since 1990
  • Genes to Cells since 1995
  • J. of Cell Science since 1996
  • Molecular Cell since 1997
  • Biosis (Methods Finder) 1998-2001
  • EMBO Journal/ EMBO Reports since 1999
  • J. of Biology since 2001
  • PLOS Biology since 2002
  • Faculty of 1000 2003-2006
  • BioMed Central since 2003
  • Epigenetics and Chromatin since 2008
  • The Nucleus since 2009


Susan Gasser studied at the University of Chicago and completed her PhD at the University of Basel, working on the import of mitochondrial proteins. As a postdoctoral fellow she identified topoisomerase II as a component of mammalian metaphase chromosomes. From 1986-2001, as a research group leader at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, she combined genetic approaches and fluor-escence microscopy to examine of the impact of nuclear organization on genome function – specifically on heritable gene repression in yeast. Her laboratory identified mechanisms that tether telomeres and silent chromatin at the nuclear envelope. In parallel, they have identified novel roles for RecQ helicases, checkpoint kinases, chromatin remodelers and ORC in maintaining genome integrity. Exploiting quantitative live fluorescence microscopy, the Gasser group has examined the subnuclear dynamics of chromatin and its role in DNA repair pathways, and more recently in differentiation and degenerative disease, using the nematode, C. elegans. From 2001-2004, Susan Gasser was Professor of Molecular Biology at the U. of Geneva, and since December 2004, she is the Director of the Friedrich Miescher Institute, Basel. She has a parallel appointment as Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Basel. Susan Gasser served as Chair of the EMBO Counci, on advisory councils throughout Europe, and is a member of the Académie de France, and of medical academies of Germany and Switzerland.
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