Berkeley’s Susan Marqusee to Lead the Biological Sciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation

Susan Marqusee, a biophysical chemist who headed the California Institute of Quantitative Biosciences at the University of California, Berkeley for 10 years, until 2020, has been chosen to lead the Directorate for Biological Sciences of the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Marqusee, who has been at Berkeley since 1992, will begin her appointment on June 30, with plans to maintain her Berkeley lab while at the National Science Foundation under the agency’s Independent Research/Development program, which allows employees to remain actively involved with their professional research while there.

“I am excited for the opportunity to lead the ‘BIO’ directorate and be a part of the NSF legacy that has promoted the progress of science for over 70 years,” said Dr. Marqusee, a Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology and Chemistry at Berkeley. “Many of the world’s current challenges have solutions routed in biology, making this a particularly exciting time for biology and cross-disciplinary discovery. I look forward to partnering across the agency to enable participation, discovery, and translation in the biological sciences. I am also grateful to the University of California for allowing me to take this time to serve our country.”

Professor Marqusee’s research focuses on deciphering the structural and dynamic information encoded in a protein’s amino acid sequence with the goal of understanding and predicting how changes in the sequence and environment affect a protein’s energy landscape and function. The fundamental nature of her work has had significant impact on many other areas of research, ranging from the physical chemistry of macromolecules to the design of therapeutics that prevent the aggregation of proteins, a phenomenon that can lead to neurogenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Marqusee received a bachelor’s degree in physics and chemistry from Cornell University. She holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and a medical degree from Stanford University.

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