2007 Andreoli-Woods Lecture
June 1, 2007
Biography. Dr. Maggie Werner-Washburne spent her first 18 years in southeast Iowa in a town on the Mississippi River. Her mother, Marta Lucia Brown y Morales, was born in Mexico, moved to Iowa with her family during the Mexican Revolution, and was a social activist all her life. Maggie did her undergraduate work at Stanford, graduating with a B.A. in English. For five years after graduation, Maggie lived in Mexico, Central and South America, Alaska, and Minnesota a walkabout that led to her becoming a scientist. During this time, she became interested in ethnobotany or the traditional use of plants for food, clothing, and medicine. Maggie completed an M.S. in Botany at the University of Hawaii and a Ph.D. in Botany with a minor in Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After a post doc in yeast molecular genetics where she and collaborators discovered that HSP70 genes were chaperones, Maggie and her family (husband Bruce and two sons) moved to Albuquerque, NM, where she is professor of Biology. Her research has been to understand stationary phase in yeast and most recently focuses on genomic analysis of the differentiation of quiescent and non-quiescent cells in stationary phase cultures as a model of stem cell biogenesis and proliferation.
Maggie has been at UNM for almost 20 years, where she has mentored students from many backgrounds, has had he papers cited more than 3600 times, and has received numerous awards, including two Presidential awards for research and mentoring and is an AAAS Fellow. She has been funded continuously for her research and is currently examining the cell division that leads to the production of quiescent cells. She also directs the NIH-funded UNM-IMSD program for student research and is starting the development of a Model Organism Database Center at UNM, in collaboration with Harvard, Stanford, and Cal Tech. The goals of this center are to manage high throughput, genomic data and analysis for FlyBase, WormBase, and Saccharomyces Genome Database. A major goal of this Center is the education and involvement of Native American and Hispanic PhDs in the areas of computational biology and bioinformatics.
Maggie is married to her husband, Bruce, whom she met in a band in Hawaii, and has two sons, Alex and Gabe. Although she was unable to find time to play much music while her boys were young, in the past 4 years, she and Bruce have played with their brother-in-law Scott (also a Biology professor) in a traditional, bluegrass gospel, and folk group called Holy Water & Whiskey (www.holywaterandwhiskey.com).