Tribute to Suzanne Eaton, from her lab members

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany. On behalf of Eaton lab members.

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Suzanne Eaton, who died tragically last month (Nature 571, 305–306; 2019), was our leader, our role model, our mentor and — most importantly — our friend.

Academic research can be arduous and unrewarding. During those dire times, Suzanne met us promptly. She insisted on going through all the raw data with us. By embracing each result as a potential clue to the truth, she taught us how to analyse and think about it in depth. And she could amplify any tentative excitement of our own with an exclamation such as “What? Wow! That’s fascinating”, accompanied by an exuberant banging on the desk.

It was important to Suzanne that the special experience of working as a team was never compromised. She always asked our opinion before offering someone a position.

Suzanne taught us to think synergistically. She showed us links between seemingly unrelated topics. The sources of several discoveries made in the lab could be attributed to such leaps in her thinking. Perhaps this approach is what we need to answer the overarching questions in science. Her illustrious life and career are a testament to that vision (see Obituary Nature Cell Biol., in the press). We shall all do our very best to honour her memory.

Nature 572, 178 (2019)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-02371-4

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