Testimonials for Pioneer Member Elizabeth Vierling

Nadja Anderson – Elizabeth is a research scientist through and through, whether it be in in the lab or collecting saguaro fruit and making saguaro syrup, she approaches everything extremely scientifically. Her passion for science has been transferred to others, and she has inspired many students along the way, both in her lab and in the classroom. I could not have asked for a better mentor.

Carol Bender – Elizabeth Vierling is an incredible scientist, mentor, and friend. As the director of an undergraduate research program in the life sciences, I always knew that any student I placed in her research group would receive great care, attention, and rigorous training, in the most supportive way. She is generous with her knowledge and has made enormous contributions to the field of plant sciences as well as to advancing the education of the next generation of scientists!

Qiang Chen – I was Elizabeth’s very first graduate student, and I learned a lot from her. I think my graduate students benefit from the advice she gave me.

Carol Dieckmann – Elizabeth was my friend and colleague at The University of Arizona. She is definitely a Pioneer in the world of plants, chloroplasts, and chaperone function.

Lila M Gierasch – Elizabeth Vierling is an outstanding researcher and a dedicated member of the biology community. She has fostered the successful scientific careers of close to 100 undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, in addition to participating in many scientific outreach programs. She is a pioneer in describing the structures and functions of small heat shock proteins. Her research has enriched our understanding of protein homeostasis and stress responses in plants, while simultaneously contributing more broadly to a fundamental understanding of protein homeostasis in other biological kingdoms.

Denise Krawitz – As an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, I worked in Elizabeth’s lab for three years, doing research on the molecular chaperone activity of heat shock proteins from plants. This was a novel opportunity, because Elizabeth was willing to invest the time and energy into training me to do laboratory research, even though I was only a sophomore at the time and had not previously worked in a lab. The education and experience I gained working for Elizabeth, as well as the guidance and mentorship she provided during those years, were foundational in my development as a scientist. She continually challenged me to seek out novel opportunities that I likely would not have found or applied for on my own. Because of her investment in my education and development, I have been able to conduct research abroad with a Fulbright grant, got a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley, and have had a fruitful career in the biotechnology industry. I truly credit my ability to become a scientist to my time working in Elizabeth’s lab. I grew a love of laboratory research that I would not have experienced otherwise, and few of my peers were afforded the same research opportunities in other laboratories. After nearly 30 years of education and working in the field, I can say that the culture Elizabeth built in her lab was unique and incredibly welcoming to a young and inexperienced student. She genuinely cares about her students and fosters an environment where they can learn and thrive and then leave ready for the next step in their development.

Teri Suzuki – I was extremely fortunate to have Elizabeth Vierling as a Ph.D. advisor. Dr. Vierling carefully mentors her undergraduate students, post-doctoral scientists, and perhaps most of all, her graduate students. In addition to the procedures of experimental biology, she seeks to convey the strategic thinking of science at levels appropriate for each individual. With her characteristic lack of ostentation, she looks after her students as people, often without their awareness. Although I graduated from her lab many years ago, Dr. Vierling’s personal and scientific integrity still make her a role model for me. I am pleased to be able to endorse her recogntion as an ASPB Pioneer.