Susan Wente, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Senior Associate Dean for Biomedical Sciences, and Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, was named by the ASCB’s Women in Cell Biology (WICB) Committee to receive the 2011 WICB Senior Award. Wente is a world-recognized leader and has made seminal advances in three key areas: mechanism of translocation across the nuclear pore; assembly of the nuclear pore complex; and inositol phosphate signaling. She has published almost 80 papers since she began her career, and has recently received a MERIT award to continue her studies on nuclear pore complexes. In a field of comparably exceptional scientists, Wente further stood out in the strength of her mentorship both individually and institutionally. Within her own research group, she has been an outstanding mentor. Many of her trainees have gone on to active careers in research either in academia or industry, or have found success in alternative careers such as journal editing or patent law. And she is well known for celebrating the growth and successes of each lab member, demonstrating the importance of each individual’s accomplishment. Wente has successfully taken on significant leadership responsibilities as well. When she was recruited from Washington University to Vanderbilt to chair the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, she joined the few women who chair similar departments at major research universities. By extensive recruiting and mentoring, she has built a truly impressive faculty. (She has also served as a member of the ASCB Council.) As a result of her successes at the departmental level, she was recently promoted to Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Senior Associate Dean for Biomedical Sciences at Vanderbilt, with new challenges for her mentoring and leadership skills. As of this writing, Wente is spending a week rafting the Colorado River with her husband and two daughters. An extraordinary scientist, mentor, leader, and person, Wente exemplifies everything the WICB Senior Award is about.
- Vivian Siegel for the Women in Cell Biology Committee