The prestigious honors have accumulated over the years, but for JoAnne Stubbe, PhD, renowned chemist and professor emerita at MIT, it’s her teaching career that has provided the greatest satisfaction.

“Teaching is the most important contribution I’ve made in my life. When you spend a lot of time with your students, as I have, you get to see transformation. That’s incredibly rewarding.”

—JoAnne Stubbe, PhD
Professor Emerita, MIT

Now she’s participating in a different transformation, having agreed to join the Board of Directors at Scripps Research and “help define the vision for where the institute will be in the next five years.” She knows many of the faculty, including President and CEO Peter Schultz, PhD, having engaged in previous collaborations. “I’ve known Peter forever,” she says with a laugh. “When he was a postdoc at MIT, we worked on the same floor. I experienced first-hand his vision, drive and fearlessness. They were then—and continue to be—unbelievable.”

A pioneer in bridging chemistry and biology, Stubbe is best known for her studies of complicated enzyme mechanisms, including ribonucleotide reductases (RNRs), enzymes essential to creating the building blocks of DNA in all organisms. Her career accomplishments have earned her numerous honors, including the National Medal of Science, bestowed by the President of the U.S., and the Priestley Medal, the highest honor conferred by the American Chemical Society. Stubbe is currently working with her many collaborators to collate information about RNRs as a resource for future scientists.

“I miss working in the lab and discussing scientific ideas with students,” she says. “But I’m really looking forward to interacting with the Scripps Research scientists and with the other board members. I know I will learn a lot and hopefully be helpful in return. Scripps Research has so much energy focused on human health. It is a privilege to be part of the community.”