Campus News

Wessler named Foundation Chair in biological sciences

Susan R. Wessler, Regents Professor of Plant Biology, has been named to the first UGA Foundation Chair in the Biological Sciences in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.  

One of UGA’s most honored faculty members, Wessler was a Distinguished Research Professor before becoming Regents Professor.  She also is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, having received a grant of $1 million to develop innovative undergraduate teaching methods at UGA. As holder of the new chair, Wessler will receive additional funding that she may use to support her scholarship.

“I am deeply honored to be chosen as the first UGA Foundation Chair in Biology,” said Wessler.

“I thank those who are responsible for its establishment.”

Wessler has been internationally recognized for her work in molecular biology and genetics. She is best known for her studies of transposable elements in plant genomes and of their contributions to gene and genome evolution.

In addition, Wessler is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

“Sue is one of the top plant geneticists in the world and thus adds measurably to the overall distinction of our faculty,” said David Lee, vice president for research. “She  also is an uncompromising advocate for excellence and is fiercely committed to enhancing research and teaching. She is a terrific role model for all of our students, but in particular women who are interested in careers in science.”

As holder of the new UGA Foundation Chair in the Biological Sciences, Wessler will relinquish her title as Regents Professor.

“It is especially fitting that Sue has been named the first UGA Foundation Chair in biological sciences,” said ­Michelle Momany, head of the plant biology department. “Her entire remarkable career has been at UGA, and we are very proud of her many accomplishments.”