FRAMINGHAM (03/22/2004) - Susan Gasser has been named director of Novartis AG's Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) in Basel. A professor of molecular biology at the University of Geneva, Gasser has led a group at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Lausanne for the past 15 years, as well as serving on various prestigious foundations and councils. FMI is one of the three Novartis corporate research institutes engaged in basic science research. It focuses on epigenetics, growth control, and neurobiology. "Epigenetics is the memory of the cell," Gasser says, speaking of one of her own areas of specialty. "Processes like this make it clear we will never understand the genome just from sequencing it."