Elizabeth Winzeler

Portrait of Elizabeth Winzeler



Degree and Class Year

BA ’84


San Diego, California


Art and natural science

Overseas study


What three words would you use to describe L&C?

Beautiful, Misty, Green

Congratulations on your recent induction into the National Academy of Medicine! How did it feel when you got the news?

It was very exciting. This recognition is a tremendous honor for scientists. The biggest thrill was discovering that so many people whose work I admire are in my (fellowship study) section. I now have emails from them in my inbox!

What made you decide to focus your research on malaria?

I spent time in Malaysia as a child, and had malaria while living there. In addition to the need for a medical treatment , I was intrigued by the social, historical, political, and economic aspects of the disease. This curiosity perhaps comes from having a well-rounded liberal arts education like the one I received at Lewis & Clark.

You lead a team of 20 faculty, staff, and students, pursuing life-saving malaria research in your lab, the Winzler Laboratory for Eukaryotic Pathogenesis, Drug Discovery and Chemical Biology. What would you say is the most satisfying part of your work?

New discoveries are great, but I am also pleased when my trainees do well.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I like to surround myself with pretty things. It is strange to say this, but I also love the way the campus smells—like rich wet earth, fir trees, and rhododendrons. I miss this now that I’m in Southern California.

How do you describe the liberal arts?

Learning how to broadly write, speak, analyze, and create.

How did you select your major?

I seem to recall taking classes in all sorts of different subjects, and I cobbled together a major in my senior year. I completed a senior thesis in art (sculpture) and had a small show. Science was going to be my backup plan.

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your career?

My broad education provided me with the resources that I needed to be successful and to solve scientific problems. At Lewis & Clark, I took classes in graphic design, programming, economics, literature, biology, physics, and chemistry. In my current work, I need to manage budgets, be a human resources professional, create graphics, write code, manage a website, write grants and manuscripts, and also understand all sorts of different scientific methods and theories. Lewis & Clark prepared me for all of this and more.

What was your most favorite L&C memory?

The Orient Express train trip from Budapest to Istanbul with Tim Calvert, Don Peckham, and Kathy Capel, fellow L&C students on my Hungary trip (1982–83). We played cards as we passed through Romania, the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Greece, taking in the sights of areas that few Americans got to see.

Read more about Elizabeth’s malaria research