Susan E. Celniker has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of Drosophila developmental genetics and genomics, and the influence of her foundational studies has served, fostered, and advanced the Drosophila research community for the past two decades.
Her seminal contributions include leading the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab) effort to sequence the Drosophila melanogaster genome as a founding member of the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project (BDGP). Drosophila, which shares three quarters of its genes with humans, was the first metazoan to be sequenced by whole genome shotgun, the same strategy ultimately used to sequence the human genome. She also led the Fly Transcriptome Consortium subgroup within the National Human Genome Research Institute’s (NHGRI’s) Model Organism Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (modENCODE). Her group was the first to use stranded paired-end RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) for developmental transcriptional profiling, and their efforts were critical to ensuring that the Drosophila genome was well-annotated, making it one of the best curated animal genomes available.
Currently the Biological Systems and Engineering Division Deputy for Science in the Biosciences Area at Berkeley Lab, as well as principal investigator for the BDGP, Celniker has enabled the study of proteomes by creating a collection of over 15,000 clones that match annotated genes for protein expression in cells or transgenic flies. She has established the most comprehensive spatial gene expression atlas in any organism, with in situ imaging of more than 80% of the Drosophila protein-coding transcriptome through embryogenesis. In addition to providing the research community (via FlyBase) with these invaluable resources and reagents, she continues to develop new tools and datasets for genetics researchers to explore the spatial and temporal control of gene expression.