Born January 29, 1953, Susan grew up in Oklahoma, Colorado, and Florida as the eldest of four children. She received a Bachelors of Science from Emory University, worked at the Centers for Disease Control, and then graduated from the University of Georgia with a PhD in Genetics. She was a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for more than twenty years. An author of over a hundred articles, she worked to improve our understanding of infectious disease such as Streptococcus pneumoniae. She cared deeply about finding cost-efficient vaccination methods to save lives in the developing world and, later in life, founded a small company to that purpose.
She was married to James Alan Mendelsohn, who "could always make her laugh!" He passed away in 2008 after a three year battle with cancer. She is survived by her devoted son Daniel and the many friends and family whose lives she touched.
Susan was an adventurer who had travelled to almost every US state, and dozens of foreign countries. (This page background is a photograph she took on her travels in Jalisco, Mexico.) She was an avid reader, writer, singer, and practitioner of yoga. She loved good company - both human and canine, rambles in deep woods, expansive views, and a glass of crisp white wine (preferably all in one day!). She had a scientist's mind, a poet's soul, and a migrating bird's sense of direction.
She will be dearly missed.