Zakian among eighteen faculty members to transfer to emeritus status

Written by
Office of Communications, Jamie Saxon, Princeton University
June 25, 2019

Eighteen Princeton University faculty members were transferred to emeritus status in recent action by the Board of Trustees. Transfers are effective July 1, 2019.

Virginia Zakian, who joined the Princeton faculty in 1995, is a leading molecular geneticist. Her research focuses on DNA replication and chromosome structure in yeast, telomeres and replication fork progression. She has contributed groundbreaking insights into the nature and function of telomeres, the unusual structures at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. Her lab also discovered and characterized the first eukaryotic accessory DNA helicases, which are enzymes that allow the replication fork to move past hard-to-replicate sites such as stable protein complexes and DNA secondary structures.

Her influential contributions to the understanding of telomeres has been recognized by many honors, including election to the National Academy of Sciences and, in 2019, to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1979, and was awarded a prestigious Merit Award in 2000.

A champion of expanding the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in science, she has participated in efforts at both Princeton and around the country to bring greater diversity to the discipline.

She received her bachelor’s from Cornell University and her Ph.D. from Yale University.