Susan Slaugenhaupt (HUGEN '88, '91) was honored with the Alumni Award for Research on May 20, 2016, at the annual Alumni Awards dinner.
The Alumni Award for Research is presented to an alumnus/na who has made significant contribution to research.
Slaugenhaupt first went to Massachusetts General Hospital as a postdoctoral fellow in 1991. She became a faculty member at Harvard Medical School in 1995 and was a founding faculty member in the Center for Human Genetic Research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her research focuses on two neurological disorders, familial dysautonomia (FD) and mucolipidosis type IV (MLIV), as well as the common cardiac disorder mitral valve prolapse (MVP). Discoveries in Slaugenhaupt’s laboratory have led to the successful implementation of critical population screening for FD and MLIV, and to the identification of the genes responsible for all three disorders. As part of the National Institutes of Health Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network, she has spent the past few years developing a new drug for FD that directly targets the mRNA splicing mechanism. This discovery program was recently licensed, bringing a new drug one step closer to FD patients.
Slaugenhaupt is the Elizabeth Riley and Dan E. Smith Jr. Massachusetts General Hospital Research Scholar and, in addition to her research, she spearheads several educational and research initiatives at Massachusetts General Hospital, including a thriving undergraduate summer internship program. In 2014 she was named the inaugural scientific director of the newly formed Mass General Research Institute, a strategic initiative created to support, promote, and guide the entire research enterprise at Mass General. She was recently named one of the 2016 Top Ten Women to Watch in Science and Technology by the Boston Business Journal.
Slaugenhaupt earned her MS degree in 1988 and her PhD in 1991 in human genetics from Pitt Public Health.