Vicki spearheads the foundation’s Science Program. Her path to science began with scuba diving, which ignited a passion for science and was followed by a junior college biology class, where she discovered a fascination of genetics. She went on to study biochemistry for her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco, respectively. She then pursued postdoctoral research at Stanford University and was on the faculty at the University of Oregon and the University of Arizona.
Vicki’s research on paramutation, an epigenetic process, has implications not only for maize, which she used for the majority of her research, but also for animal and human genetics and genetic diseases. Before coming to the foundation, she was the founding director of the BIO5 Institute, an interdisciplinary center at the University of Arizona devoted to improving health and saving lives through innovative research efforts.
Vicki is president-elect of the Genetics Society of America and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Her many honors include the Presidential Young Investigator Award, Searle Scholar Award, and American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow. She has served on advisory boards and panels for the National Research Council, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and National Institutes of Health. Vicki has chaired numerous conferences and served on the editorial boards of several journals, including Genetics, Plant Physiology, PNAS and Science.