PerspectiveRetrospective

Susan Lindquist (1949–2016)

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Science  25 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6315, pp. 974
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal3609

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Summary

On 27 October, Susan Lee Lindquist, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), died of cancer at the age of 67. She was a formidable academic leader, dedicated mentor, beloved friend, and devoted wife and mother who will be deeply missed. Susan was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1949 to parents of Swedish and Italian ancestry. This rich blend of genes and cultures was reflected in her ability to balance the dramatic against the carefully reasoned. She earned a bachelor's degree in microbiology at the University of Illinois in 1971, followed by a doctorate in biology from Harvard University in 1976. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago, she joined its molecular biology department and set about deciphering how cells regulate protein synthesis and folding. She recounted an environment far from supportive for women, yet she persisted and thrived. She ignored warnings that her career would flounder when she switched organisms or undertook difficult areas of study. Rather, she demonstrated an ability to choose the right questions at the right time and helped found the field of heat-shock biology.