University of Vermont

Environmental Mutagen Society Recognizes Wallace’s Research Contributions

Professor and Chair of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Susan Wallace, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Susan Wallace, Ph.D. (Photo by Andy Duback, UVM Medical Photography)

Susan Wallace, Ph.D., professor and chair of microbiology and molecular genetics, received the 2012 Environmental Mutagen Society (EMS) Award at the Society’s 43rd Annual Meeting, which was held September 8 to 12, 2012 in Bellevue, Wash.

Conferred annually, the EMS Award recognizes outstanding research contributions in the area of environmental mutagenesis. Wallace was selected based on her fundamental studies on repair of DNA damage caused by environmental agents, and for her exemplary leadership in science. As the 2012 award recipient, she delivered the EMS Award Lecture, titled “Oxidative DNA Damages: Search and Destroy,” on Tuesday, September 11.

Wallace, who was the UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Commencement speaker in May 2012, has served in her current role at UVM since 1988. She also serves in a variety of other professional capacities at UVM, including as a UVM Graduate College faculty member and director of the Vermont Cancer Center’s Genome Stability and Expression Program. Her research focuses on how environmental toxins contribute to DNA damage and can lead to mutations and cancer, as well as the mechanisms that play a role in DNA repair.

She received an M.S. degree in bioradiology from the University of California, Berkeley, a Ph.D. in biophysics from the Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Sloan Kettering Division, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in immunochemistry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. The author of more than 170 publications and book chapters, she is currently an associate editor of the journals DNA Repair and Molecular Cancer Research. Wallace is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including University Distinguished Professor at UVM, the Harvard School of Public Health’s John B. Little Award for Outstanding Contributions to Molecular Radiobiology, the Failla Award from the Radiation Research Society and two National Institutes of Health Merit Awards. In addition, she has served on a number of government service and advisory committees regarding radiation damage to DNA.

The Environmental Mutagen Society is the primary professional society for scientists involved in research into environmental causes and consequences of damage to the genome and epigenome. The Society’s mission is to transmit emerging knowledge and support national and international efforts to ensure a healthy, sustainable environment for future generations. The Society’s Annual Meeting is unique in bringing together scientists who carry out basic research with those involved in risk estimation and regulatory concerns related to the consequences of exposure to environmental, industrial, and pharmaceutical agents. The result is a dynamic meeting that is sufficiently large enough to cover a broad range of contemporary topics, yet focused and small enough to facilitate interactions between students and renowned scientists in academia, government, and industry.