Deputy Scientific Director and Chief, Laboratory of Molecular Biology
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health


Susan Buchanan

Statement of interest

In addition to training students and postdocs on the structural biology of membrane proteins using X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy, I advocate strongly for a diverse scientific workforce that accurately reflects our population. We need more women and minorities to choose science careers and train as future leaders. Toward these goals, I have worked for many years to create mentorship programs for tenure-track investigators, to mentor several individuals, and to chair the NIDDK Tenure and Promotions Committee, to give every young investigator the best chance of tenure. Similarly, I have worked with the NIH Women Scientists Advisors to ensure salary equity, promotions and leadership opportunities for our senior women. This group also looks closely at our postdoctoral trainees to better understand why so many young women train as postdocs but choose not to continue in scientific leadership roles. A better understanding of their current experiences, opportunities, and roadblocks will help us to create a more supportive working environment for all scientists, leading to the diversity that we so clearly need.

Education and training

  • B.S., Chemistry, Furman University, 1983
  • M.A., Biophysical Chemistry, Princeton University, 1986
  • Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of Frankfurt, 1990
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, 1991–1993
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, 1994–1998

Awards and honors

  • NIH Director’s Award for service on the NIH Equity Committee, 2019
  • NIH Director’s Award for service on the Woman Scientist Advisors, 2019
  • NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion “Game Changer,” 2019
  • NIH OD Honor Award for establishing TTI Mentoring Committees, 2018
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, 2018
  • NIH Executive Leadership Program, 2018
  • NIH Director’s Award for Outstanding Research Achievement, 2016
  • NIH Senior Leadership Program, 2015
  • NIDDK You Make a Difference Award, 2014
  • SER–CAT Outstanding Science Award, 2013
  • NIDDK Early Career Investigator/Scholar Award, 2010
  • Nobel Symposium on Energy in the Cosmos, Molecules, and Life, Stockholm, Sweden, 2005
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2004
  • BBSRC Advanced Research Fellowship, 1998–2001
  • American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellowship, 1994–1995
  • EMBO long-term postdoctoral fellowship, 1991–1992
  • Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst doctoral fellowship, 1986
  • Charles Reilly doctoral fellowship in analytical chemistry, 1984
  • Furman University academic chemistry scholarship, 1982


Service to the NIH with focus on tenure track scientists and women in leadership roles:

  • Deputy Scientific Director, NIDDK, 2018–present
  • Chief, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, NIDDK, 2014–present
  • NIH Women Scientist Advisors Committee, Chair 2011–2014, executive committee 2014–2019
  • Membrane Protein Interest Group steering committee, 2001–2019
  • NIDDK Staff Scientist Review Board, 2011–2018
  • NIDDK Promotion and Tenure Committee, 2012–present
  • NIH Tenure Track Discussion Group Leader, 2012–present
  • NIH scientific mentoring committees: currently four tenure-track investigators