Dr. Sue Biggins steps in as Director of the Board of Scientific Advisors

June 2, 2022

Dr. Sue Biggins is the new Director of the Board of Scientific Advisors, taking over for Dr. Bonnie Bassler. Dr. Biggins is a Senior Vice President, Director, and Full Professor in the Division of Basic Sciences at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and an Investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  She is also a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, an ASCB Fellow, and a former Beckman Young Investigator, Sidney Kimmel Scholar, and Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund Fellow.

The Biggins Lab investigates the molecular details regarding how chromosomes are segregated and sorted during cell division – a process that often goes awry in many types of cancers. While Dr. Biggins is a self-described geneticist, her lab is widely known for using complex biochemical reconstitutions to uncover the elegant biophysical mechanisms involved in chromosomal segregation. Reflecting on the winding path her research has taken, Dr. Biggins encourages JCC Fellows to follow their science wherever it goes and to have an expansive vision of their scientific capabilities.

Beyond her own lab, Dr. Biggins is a passionate advocate for funding basic science, as she views a better understanding of fundamental biology as an important foundation for developing better treatments for human disease. She is excited about the role that JCC can play in supporting basic science – and stresses the transformative impact that a JCC fellowship can have both on the individual recipient, and on the recipient’s lab. Dr. Biggins envisions increasing the diversity of future JCC fellow classes as being a key priority during her time as Director. Her criteria for diversity in this context include personal characteristics (gender, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual identity, etc.), recipient institutes and geographical locations of institutes, the type of science being funded, and the experience of PI sponsors.

Although Dr. Biggins describes herself as “not a social-media type of person”, she has made quite a splash by running a personal Twitter account that is informational, genuine, and on occasion playfully calls out colleagues who are late for faculty meetings. Dr. Biggins finds Twitter to be a useful tool for meeting new scientists, staying up to date with the latest science, and for engaging in discussions that deal with topical issues in science. Thus, an additional part of Sue’s vision for JCC is to utilize Twitter to further strengthen the connection between past and present Fellows and Board Members.