Dr. Masters holds the Robert A. Welch Foundation Distinguished Chair in Chemistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas. A native Virginian, she received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Roanoke College. She was awarded her Ph.D in Biochemistry with a minor in chemistry from Duke University in 1963, and continued her training there as a postdoctoral fellow supported sequentially by the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. In 1968, Dr Masters received an Established Investigatorship from the American Heart Association, under which she began her academic career at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. There she became a Full Professor in 1976 and left in 1982 to become Chair of Biochemistry at the Medical College of Wisconsin. In 1990 she was recruited to the U.T Health Science Center in San Antonio as the first Robert A. Welch Distinguished Professor.
Throughout Dr Masters’ academic career she has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, through both the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, earning a Merit Award from the latter from 1989-1998. Currently, her research centers on the structure-function relationships of flavoproteins and heme proteins involved in major monooxygenation pathways. These include a gene subfamily of the cytochromes P450 heme proteins that function in the hydroxylation of fatty acids and prostaglandins and are responsible for vasoconstrictive effects in the lung and kidney, and the three genetically-coded forms of nitric oxide (NO) synthases [neuronal, endothelial and inducible], which produce NO as a signaling molecule. Her group is also funded by the NIGMS to study the molecular and cellular effects of human mutations in NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase, which supplies electrons to the 50 cytochromes P450 in the endoplasmic reticulum of human tissues.
Dr Masters received an honorary Doctor of Science from Roanoke College in 1983 and the Doctorem Medicinae Honoris Causae (honorary M.D.) from Charles University in Prague Czech Republic in 2005. She was awarded the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's Excellence in Science Award (1992), and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Bernard B. Brodie Award in 2000. She served on the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health through 2004, followed by service on the National Advisory Research Resources Council from 2004-2009. She was President of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from 2002-2004. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1996, and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2001 Masters lab website