This month, Suzanne Pfeffer assumes the presidency of ASBMB. This article gives a little insight into her background and research interests. (Titled "ASBMB Presidential Primer: Suzanne Pfeffer" in print version.)
As someone who spent most of her career in the San Francisco Bay Area, Suzanne Pfeffer definitely has developed some of that Northern California vibe. When you first meet her, adjectives like content, easy-going and laid-back quickly spring to mind.
Speak with her for a little longer, though, and you realize that Pfeffer, a professor in the department of biochemistry at Stanford University School of Medicine, also carries herself with a quiet confidence, as well as strong determination, two qualities that will no doubt serve her well when she takes over as the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s 82nd president this month.
Pfeffer, who studies the molecular basis of membrane trafficking and Golgi function, brings several other valuable attributes to the table. She has executive experience, having served as president of the American Society for Cell Biology in 2003. She also is familiar with the ASBMB process, having previously worked on both the ASBMB council and the Journal of Biological Chemistry editorial board; and, she is currently organizing the 2010 ASBMB small meeting on the biochemistry of membrane traffic.
Perhaps her most critical trait, however, is an unwavering belief in her new constituency. “We’re a society to be reckoned with,” she states firmly, “and should not have to take a back seat to anyone.”
Given such a direct statement, it may be fitting that one of Pfeffer’s primary goals as ASBMB president will be to try to improve science communication. That includes ensuring that ASBMB continues its excellent work in the public affairs arena, where it can reach the ears of the policy makers, while also expanding efforts in educating the public about the importance and value of basic research.