Susan L. Ackerman
University of California, San Diego
Cellular and Developmental Biology
Ackerman's contributions have been to uncover mechanisms of neural dysfunction which have in turn influenced the fields of genetics, neurobiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. Her early studies elucidated mechanisms of mammalian neural development, particularly neuronal migration and axon guidance. More recently, she defined pathways that specifically regulate neuronal homeostasis in the aging mammalian brain, including determination of the causality of endoplasmic reticulum stress and mRNA translation abnormalities in neurodegeneration. Additionally, she provided the first evidence for phenotypic consequences of mutations in tRNAs in higher eukaryotes.