Pitzer College Alumna Susan Celniker '75 Honored for Pioneering Genetic Research

Claremont, Calif. (December 5, 2012)— Pitzer College alumna Susan Celniker '75 has been named a 2012 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The peer-awarded honor recognizes distinguished efforts in the scientific and social applications of science.

Susan Celniker
Susan Celniker '75

Celniker, who heads the Life Sciences Division's Department of Genome Dynamics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was recognized for her "distinguished contributions to the fields of genomics and genetics, particularly for pioneering genomic analysis of Drosophila and discovering novel gene structures and transcript complexity."

Drosophila is a genus of small flies that include more than 1,500 species. The flies in the most frequently studied species, Drosophila melanogaster, are generally called "fruit flies" and have served as the foundation of genetic and developmental studies for more than a century. The Drosophila genome is used as a model for studies of the human genome, helping scientists design genetic experiments that increase their understanding of aging, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

"I am truly honored that my scientific colleagues considered my work worthy of this distinction," Celniker said.

Celniker is also the co-director of the Berkeley Drosophila Sequencing Program of the Drosophila Genome Center, a research consortium funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute and the National Cancer Institute. A recognized expert in the genome of Drosophila, she has been deeply involved in the relationships of genomics and human disease for her entire career. She is a senior staff scientist at the Berkeley Lab as well as a member of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Group in Comparative Biochemistry at UC Berkeley.

This year, the AAAS named 702 members Fellows. The 2012 AAAS Fellows will be recognized in February during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.

Celniker was a biology and anthropology major at Pitzer College.

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American Association for the Advancement of Science

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