American Philosophical Society
Member History

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209. Neurobiology[X]
1Name:  Dr. Bonnie L. Bassler
 Institution:  Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Princeton University
 Year Elected:  2012
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  209. Neurobiology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1962
Bonnie L. Bassler is currently both an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and and Endowed Squibb Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. Born in Illinois she received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1990. She has won a number of awards, including: the Eli Lilly and Company Research Award, American Society for Microbiology, 2006; the President's Distinguished Teaching Award, Princeton University, 2008; the Richard Lounsbery Award, National Academy of Sciences, 2011; the Shaw Prize, 2015; the Max Planck Research Award, 2016; the Dickson Prize in Medicine, 2018; and the 2020 Gruber Genetics Prize. In 2019 she became a member of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. She is a member of the American Society for Microbiology (president); the American Academy for Microbiology (chair, Board of Governors); the National Academy of Sciences, 2006; and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2007. Bonnie Bassler discovered the universal use of chemical communication among bacteria, leading to a new paradigm of bacteria as interacting organisms. Early in her career, she discovered that bacteria use multiple chemical signals to communicate. She showed that this process, called quorum sensing, allows bacteria to coordinate behavior as a population and thereby act like multicellular organisms. Bassler subsequently made the seminal and startling discovery that bacteria communicate across species, and she identified the universal inter-species communication molecule. On the human health front, Bassler demonstrated that quorum sensing controls virulence in disease-causing bacteria, and that by manipulating quorum sensing she can halt virulence in globally-important pathogens. Her research paves the way for novel antibiotics targeting quorum sensing, and her group successfully demonstrated such therapeutic strategies. Bassler is internationally recognized for her passionate commitment to science education and outreach and to increasing gender and racial diversity in science, mathematics, and engineering. She was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2012.
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