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Susan Lindquist (born 5 June 1949) is a well-known molecular biologist studying (among other things) the biology of protein folding, heat-shock proteins, and prions. Lindquist is a member and former Director of the Whitehead Institute.
Lindquist is best known for her research that provided strong evidence for a new paradigm in genetics based upon the inheritance of proteins with new, self-perpetuating shapes rather than new DNA sequences. This research provided a biochemical framework for understanding other mysteries in biology, such as Alzheimer's disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. She is considered an expert in protein folding which, as explained by Lindquist in the following excerpt, is an ancient, fundamental problem in biology:
Lindquist worked on the PSI+ element in yeast (a prion) and how it can act as a switch that hides or reveals numerous mutations throughout the genome, thus acting as an evolutionary capacitor. She also proposed that a heat shock protein, hsp90, may act in the same way, normally preventing phenotypic consequences of genetic changes, but showing all changes at once when the HSP system is overloaded.
Recently, Lindquist has made advances in nanotechnology, researching organic fibers capable of self-organizing into structures smaller than manufactured materials. Her group also developed a yeast “living test tube” model to study protein folding transitions in neurodegenerative diseases and to test therapeutic strategies through high-throughput screening. She is a co-founder of FoldRx, a company developing drug therapies for diseases of protein misfolding and amyloidosis.
In June 2006, Dr. Lindquist was the inaugural guest on the "Futures in Biotech" podcast on Leo Laporte's TWiT network.
Lindquist received her PhD in biology from Harvard in 1976, was the Albert D. Lasker Professor of Medical Sciences in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology at the University of Chicago, and is now a professor of biology at MIT, an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.
Lindquist is married to Edward Buckbee and has two daughters. The younger attends Northwestern University. The older is studying political science at George Washington University.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Susan_Lindquist". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|