BSc (Chem), 1980
BA (French), 1980
SFU OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARD RECIPIENT, 1998
Alexandra Newton was born in Cape Town, South Africa, where her father was a Professor of Classics at the University of Cape Town. He was recruited as a founding faculty of SFU's Department of Modern Languages and the family moved to Vancouver in the middle of a very snowy winter in 1964. Professor Newton specialized in the Greek language and every 2 or 3 years, the family would spend a year in Greece for him to conduct field work on Greek dialects. One year, he spent his research leave in Aix-en-Provence, and Alexandra and her brother attended the Lycée Mignet (accounting for her double major in French literature). Upon their return from France, she entered SFU under the Early Entrance policy. Despite her interest in languages (she speaks Greek, French, and German), her passion for science took hold at SFU. After graduating with a double major in Biochemistry and French Literature, she moved to Stanford, where she obtained her PhD in Chemistry (1986). Following 2 years of postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley, in the lab of renowned biochemist Daniel E. Koshland, Jr, she moved to Indiana University (1988-1995), becoming the first woman to be tenured in the Department of Chemistry. In 1995 she moved to the Department of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, where she teaches in the medical and graduate school and runs a research lab examining the molecular mechanisms of cancer. She has two children, Sophie, a ballerina, and Nicolas, interested in mechanical engineering.
-Written by the Faculty of Science
Published in April 2016