December 8, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 39

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FASEB appoints Masters as vice president-elect


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The board of directors for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has selected Dr. Bettie Sue Masters as the federation’s next vice president-elect for science policy. Dr. Masters, who has held the Robert A. Welch Foundation Chair in Chemistry at the Health Science Center since 1990, will assume her new duties in the summer of 2001.

FASEB’s Science Policy Committee examines science policy issues and recommends courses of action for the federation. Dr. Masters hopes to bring a different perspective to science policy issues.

"While the issues of funding must require our utmost efforts, we must also think about what the coming decades will need in terms of concentrated biomedical research activity," she was quoted as saying in FASEB News. "I mean this not only from the technological development viewpoint, but from the aspects of intellectual activity and problems to be solved."

Dr. Masters, professor in the department of biochemistry, chairs the U.S. National Committee of the National Academy of Sciences to the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. This panel seeks ways to promote science at the international level.

Dr. Masters told FASEB News that the committee "has preached the utility of ‘Collaboratories’ [also known as ‘Laboratories Without Walls’ or ‘Virtual Laboratories’] that can be observed and/or controlled from remote locations and, employing the highest levels of technology available, can make high-level science available to all scientists who have access to the Internet. An organization such as FASEB could have enormous impact in promoting such collaboration and cooperation."

Dr. Masters’ research interests have included a class of intracellular, membrane-bound cytochromes P450 involved in the metabolism of therapeutic drugs, cancer-causing agents and hormonal mediators within organs such as the liver, lung and kidney. Her work has helped to define the structure and function of these enzymes.

More recently, her studies have focused on the characterization of the nitric oxide synthases, which produce nitric oxide in various organs and mediate neural signaling, dilation of blood vessels and killing of foreign cells such as tumors and bacterial or fungal agents.

Dr. Masters completed her Ph.D. and postdoctoral work at Duke University, including an advanced research fellowship as a junior faculty member. She began her independent professional research career as a tenure-track faculty member at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas from 1968 to 1982, becoming a full professor in 1976. She was appointed chair of the Department of Biochemistry at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1982 and remained there for eight years before returning to Texas to take her current position.

Dr. Masters received the FASEB Excellence in Science Award in 1992 and was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine in 1996. She has served on scientific advisory committees for organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society and the National Research Council.