Wendy Gilbert is a Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. Her work focuses on regulatory elements in messenger RNA that control the cellular expression of the information stored in the genetic code. She earned her PhD at UCSF with Christine Guthrie, studying mRNA export and being fascinated by the exquisite mechanisms that couple export-competence to completion of RNA processing. As a postdoc in Jennifer Doudna’s lab at UC Berkeley, she uncovered a non-canonical mechanism of translation initiation. Her lab’s current work ranges widely across RNA biology with the unifying theme of elucidating the molecular mechanisms of RNA regulatory elements controlling mRNA biogenesis, translation and decay.
Most recently, this has been in the area of RNA base modification. Notable awards include the RNA Society’s Early Career Award (2017) for her “paradigm-altering contributions to the field of post-transcriptional gene regulation” and the RNA Society Award for Excellence in Inclusive Leadership (2023) for her efforts to promote the training and professional development of underrepresented scientists.