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The National Academy of Sciences

The National Academies provide expert advice to the U.S. government on issues of science, health, and engineering and, today, comprise three private, nonprofit institutions: The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and National Academy of Medicine (NAM). The NAS is the oldest of these, established by the U.S. Congress in 1863.

Membership to the Academies is considered one of the highest honors bestowed to a U.S. scientist. Below is a list of the many NIH scientists, past and present, elected to the NAS. Click here to view IRP researchers elected to the NAM, and click here to view our NAE member.

Current IRP scientists elected to the NAS (year of election):

  • Yasmine Belkaid (2017). Dr. Belkaid explores the field of immune regulation and has defined fundamental mechanisms that regulate tissue homeostasis and host immune responses. She has uncovered key roles for the commensal microbiota and dietary factors in the maintenance of tissue immunity and protection to pathogens, demonstrating that commensals play a major role in the control of host-defense in both the skin and the gastrointestinal tract.

  • Ronald N. Germain (2016). Dr. Germain studies basic aspects of innate and adaptive immune function, with an emphasis on the biochemical mechanisms involved in discrimination between self and foreign peptide-associated MHC molecules by T-cells as well as on T-cell antigen-presenting cell interactions and the subsequent delivery of effector function.

  • Eugene Koonin (2016). Dr. Koonin performs research in many areas of evolutionary genomics and takes advantage of the advances of comparative genomics and systems biology to address fundamental problems in evolutionary biology. Koonin hypothesized in 2005 that “spacer DNA” in the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) loci of bacteria and archaea, which matched sequences of bacteriophages, could be a key part of a sort of adaptive immune system.

  • Alan G. Hinnebusch (2015). Dr. Hinnebusch studies the regulation of amino acid biosynthetic genes in budding yeast as a means of dissecting molecular mechanisms of gene regulation at the translational and transcriptional levels. Topics include mechanisms and regulation of translation initiation; regulation of eIF2a kinase GCN2; and mechanism of transcriptional activation by GCN4.

  • Warren J. Leonard (2015). Dr. Leonard discovered multiple specific forms of immunodeficiency, including those caused by mutations in the genes encoding the intracellular signaling molecule JAK3, which associates with γc, and the receptor for IL-7. Early in his career, Leonard cloned and characterized the human receptor for the immune cytokine IL‑2, making him the first to clone the receptor for a type 1 cytokine.

  • Carolina Barillas-Mury (2014). Dr. Barillas-Mury is recognized for her work on mosquito immune responses that limit Plasmodium infection and the discovery of a mechanism of parasite immune evasion that enables malaria transmission.

  • G. Marius Clore (2014). Dr. Clore is a biophysicist recognized for his pioneering work on the development of NMR for determining three-dimensional solution structures of biological macromolecules and extending the frontiers of NMR to ever more complex systems.

  • Shiv Grewal (2014). Dr. Grewal is recognized for groundbreaking research in the field of epigenetics; his work provided fundamental insight into heterochromatin formation, a compact form of chromatin that inhibits inappropriate gene expression and ensures genome stability.

  • Louis M. Staudt (2013). Dr. Staudt pioneered the use of gene expression profiling to discover molecularly and clinically distinct cancer subtypes and to predict response to therapy, particularly molecular subtypes of lymphoma.

  • Wei Yang (2013). Dr. Yang is a structural biologist who has identified unexpected enzymatic activity in proteins that plays an essential role in maintaining genome stability by demonstrating adenosine triphosphatase (elected in ATPase) activity in MutL, a key protein that corrects DNA replication errors.

  • Gisela Storz (2012). Early in her career, Dr. Storz elucidated a key mechanism of the bacterial response to oxidative stress, demonstrating for the first time that oxidation of proteins could regulate gene expression. In recent years, her interests have expanded to include the systematic identification and characterization of small, non-coding RNAs and small proteins that have introduced a new dimension to the regulation of bacterial metabolism and responses to stress.

  • Attila Szabo (2010). Dr. Szabo has been recognized for developing novel theoretical analyses for a wide variety of experiments and for bringing leadership to the service of biological physics. His research interests include fluorescence depolarization and NMR relaxation of probes in macromolecules and membranes, the study of chemical reaction dynamics, the influence of diffusion on the kinetics of ligand binding and protein folding, and analysis of single molecule fluorescence and force spectroscopic experiments.

  • Daniel Kastner (2010). Dr. Kastner has a long-standing interest in complex genetic disorders of inflammation, and has been instrumental in identifying the genetic mutations and affected pathways of a number of diseases within the systemic autoinflammatory diseases group, including Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF), TNF-receptor associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS), and neonatal multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID).

  • Douglas R. Lowy (2009). He is a leader in viral oncology and has made fundamental advances in murine retroviruses, RAS oncogenes, and the papillomaviruses. His work has directly contributed to the development of highly effective prophylactic vaccines against HPVs (human papillomaviruses) linked to cervical cancer.

  • Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz (2008). Her research has revolutionized our understanding of the dynamics of membrane proteins and the assembly of intracellular organelles-specifically the reversible flow of proteins between the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi, and the mechanisms of nuclear envelope and Golgi breakdown and re-assembly during mitosis.

  • Thomas E. Wellems (2007). He made central discoveries in malaria biology, including the transport molecule responsible for chloroquine resistance, and the var gene family responsible for the antigenic variation and adherence of infected red blood cells. He provided the first evidence that a mutation protects against cerebral malaria by reducing var expression on the red blood cell surface.

  • Carl Wu (2006). He is a leader in analyzing how the structure of chromatin, the DNA-protein complex found in cellular nuclei, is related to the expression of genes. He was the first to show that the promoter regions of eukaryotic genes are hypersensitive to nucleases, and he discovered the Drosophila NURF complex, an ATP-burning molecular machine that moves nucleosomes to specific gene targets.

  • William A. Eaton (2006). His spectroscopic experiments form the foundation for investigations of protein conformational dynamics and allostery. His studies of sickle-cell hemoglobin greatly advanced our molecular understanding of sickle-cell disease and motivated new therapeutic approaches. His laser-triggering experiments revealed the time scales and mechanisms of the initial events in protein folding.

  • Susan G. Amara (2004). Her laboratory examines the impact of psychostimulant and antidepressant drugs on the signaling properties, physiology and acute regulation of biogenic amine transporters. Her research demonstrated that transporters can serve dual functions as transporters and as substrate-gated ion channels, revealing additional mechanisms by which carriers regulate neuronal excitability.

  • Sue Hengren Wickner (2004). She is a major contributor to the understanding of protein machines essential for DNA replication. She discovered that some replication enzymes function to guide proteins to specific sites and that others remodel inactive complexes. She found that a subunit of the prokarytotic proteosome-like protease is a molecular chaperone.

  • David J. Lipman (2003). He has led the effort to develop powerful new tools for DNA and protein sequence comparison, with particular application to database searching as well as to methods for multiple sequence alignment. His inspired leadership of the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine has resulted in the universal availability of genome data, and has provided the world with many sophisticated analysis tools.

  • Joseph F. Fraumeni (2002). He is a leading cancer epidemiologist who has uncovered both genetic and environmental determinants of cancer. By creating maps depicting geographic variation in cancer mortality at the county level in the United States, he developed a way to identify environmental and lifestyle exposures driving the patterns of certain malignancies. In addition, as co-discoverer of several genetic and familial syndromes predisposing to cancer, he has provided new insights into the genetic component of cancer causation.

  • Adriaan Bax (2002). He has been one of the pioneers in the development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, abbreviated as NMR. This technique is widely used to determine the atomic structure of molecules, including the motions and three-dimensional structures of proteins. He has created some of the newest methods of high-resolution NMR spectroscopy and used these techniques to extend our abilities to probe protein structure and function.

  • Harvey Alter (2002). He has been a major contributor in the fight to reduce the incidence of transfusion-induced hepatitis, which occurred in 30 percent of transfusions in 1970 and in almost none in the year 2000. He discovered non-A-non-B hepatitis (also known as hepatitis C) and described the natural history of hepatitis C. Alter also co-discovered the Australia antigen that signals the presence of hepatitis B.

  • Reed B. Wickner (2000). His imaginative studies of infectious elements of Saccaromyces increased our understanding of RNA virus replication, assembly and virus-host interactions. His discovery of yeast prions (infectious proteins), dramatically transformed this field. He showed these prions are responsible for some inherited traits and that one prion is composed of amyloid.

  • Leslie G. Ungerleider (2000). She is a leading expert on higher-order visual mechanisms in humans and monkeys. She co-formulated the concept of two cortical visual processing streams and did fundamental anatomical work on cortical visual area. Using neuroimaging, she defined regions in the human brain important for cognition and explicated their function.

  • Malcolm A. Martin (1998). He is a virologist who has made many significant contributions to our understanding of papovaviruses, of the retroviruses that hide in all of our cells, and of the virus that causes AIDS, called HIV. He conducted critical risk assessment experiments that allowed the safe molecular cloning of DNA from animals to proceed, and he continues to be a leader of molecular and biological investigations of AIDS.

  • Susan Gottesman (1998). She has been a pioneer in an exploding area of biological regulation in which enzymes that destroy specific other proteins, called proteases, play a central role inside the cell. In groundbreaking work, she discovered and elucidated the central features of a whole new family of proteases that require energy for their function in the form of ATP-hydrolysis.

  • Lutz Birnbaumer (1994). His contributions are seminal to the understanding of hormone action and membrane signal transduction. Foremost are the co-discoveries of GTP-dependent signal transduction, which is used by over 100 distinct receptors (with Martin Rodbell in 1971), and G protein-regulated ion channels, which exposed an important aspect of modulation of cellular excitability.

  • Kiyoshi Mizuuchi (1994). He has probably made more contributions to understanding DNA rearrangements than anyone else. He has made major advances in determining the molecular mechanism of DNA gyrase, lambda integrative recombination, Holliday structure resolution, phage mu transposition and retroviral integration.

  • Sankar Adhya (1994). Through his elegant synthesis of biochemical and genetic methods, he has made many seminal discoveries in bacterial gene regulation. His findings offer new insights into how proteins that regulate both initiation and termination of transcription interact with polynucleotides and with each other to control gene expression from dispersed genetic sites.

  • Francis S. Collins (1993). He is known for his application of applied novel methods for detecting the mutations responsible for genetic disorders, starting with information on the chromosomal position of the gene. Collins has referred to this as positional cloning and has applied it with success to the elucidation of cystic fibrosis and neurofibromatosis.

  • Anthony Fauci (1992). He is a pioneer in the study of human immunoregulation. He isolated several immunoregulatory factors and delineated their role in normal B cell function. His successful treatment of formally fatal inflammatory diseases was based on this research. He identified the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the expression of HIV in chronically/latently infected cells.

  • Henry Metzger (1992). He is the world leader in the study of receptors that mediate release of vasoactive amines from mast cells and basophils. He identified cell lines expressing large numbers of receptors, purified each subunit of the receptor, obtained cDNA clones for each subunit, and achieved the expression of the complete recombinant IgE receptor.

  • Maurice Burg (1991). He revolutionized the field of renal physiology by developing new techniques to study the function of individual nephron segments and using these techniques to identify many new transport systems as well as the sites of action of vasopressin and major diuretics.

  • Edward D. Korn (1990). He obtained early evidence for actin filaments in nonmuscle cells and for their association with the plasma membrane; elucidated the regulatory roles of actin-binding proteins and ATP hydrolysis in actin polymerization; and discovered single-headed, non-filamentous myosins and the regulation of nonmuscle myosins by heavy chain phosphorylation.

  • Louis H. Miller (1990). His discoveries of receptor-mediated invasion of red cells by the malaria parasite and their knob-associated endothelial adherence have greatly clarified the biology and pathophysiology of malaria. His contributions on the immunology of malaria, at both the cellular and molecular levels, provide hope for better means of control of this important disease.

  • Robert H. Wurtz (1988). Attention is basic to cognitive and perceptual functions, and Wurtz's prolific and original research is of unusual significance in revealing brain mechanisms related to visual attention. Wurtz has pioneered recording techniques in awake primates that have led to major discoveries of the neuronal mechanisms involved in performing visual attentional and perceptive tasks.

  • Thomas Reese (1987). His pioneering work in rapid freeze-fracture electron microscopy has opened a new field of cryobiology applied to the nervous system. He has helped resolve long-standing questions in three important areas.

  • Bernard Moss (1987). He has isolated and characterized numerous enzymes from vaccinia virus particles; is a codiscoverer of mRNA capping; identified various vaccinia virus genes and sequenced their promoters; and shown how to use vaccinia virus DNA as an expression vector for foreign genes, particularly those that encode antigens of clinical importance.

  • Martin Gellert (1986). In seminal work showing the importance of the topological properties of DNA, he discovered DNA gyrase and is the codiscoverer of DNA ligase, two major enzymes of DNA metabolism. He initiated an entirely new research area concerned with the energetics and mechanochemistry of DNA as it functions in gene expression, replication, and recombination.

  • Thomas A. Waldmann (1985). He has made seminal discoveries concerning the human immune system. He demonstrated the existence and significance of human suppressor T cells, identified and cloned the T cell's interleukin-2 receptor, and established the state of differentiation of lymphoid malignancies by determining their state of immunoglobulin gene rearrangement.

  • Martha Vaughan (1985). Her pioneering studies on adipose tissue metabolism, her elucidation of the mechanism of action of cholera toxin on the adenylate cyclase system, and her brilliant work on the phosphodiesterases have had a major influence on current concepts in metabolic regulation.

  • Mortimer Mishkin (1984). Dr. Mishkin's laboratory has either discovered or greatly contributed to the understanding of pathways for vision, hearing, and touch, and how these processing streams connect with brain structures important for memory.

  • Ira Pastan (1982). Dr. Pastan pioneered the field of receptor biology in animal cells and identified a major receptor-mediated pathway of gene regulation in bacteria; his seminal work in receptor biology has resulted in numerous important discoveries, including treatments for several drug-resistant cancers.

  • Igor B. Dawid (1981). Dr. Dawid has made seminal contributions to understanding molecular pathways in intercellular communication and transcriptional regulation that control cell differentiation and pattern formation in the vertebrate embryo.

  • Herbert Tabor (1977). Dr. Tabor is the foremost authority on the microbial biosynthetic pathways of polyamines; his research has demonstrated that the polyamines are required for growth of certain organisms, their sporulation, maintenance of the killer dsRNA virus, protection against oxidative damage, protection against elevated temperatures, fidelity of protein biosynthesis, and for the maintenance of mitochondria.

  • Gary Felsenfeld (1976). Dr. Felsenfeld is a pioneer in the study of the regulation of gene expression, particularly on the ways in which chromatin structure serves to regulate gene activity in eukaryotes.

Current IRP scientists elected to the NAE (year of election):

  • Roderic Pettigrew (2010). For the use of MRI in human blood-flow studies and for leading advancements in bioengineering research and education as the initial director of NIBIB.

Former NIH scientists elected to the NAS (year of election):

  • Christian Anfinsen (1963)

  • Charles Armstrong (1944)

  • G. Gilbert Ashwell (1979) *Emeritus

  • Gerald D. Aurbach (1986)

  • Julius Axelrod (1971)

  • Robert W. Berliner (1968)

  • Baruch Blumberg (1975)

  • Roscoe O. Brady (1975)

  • Bernard B. Brodie (1966)

  • Giulio L. Cantoni (1983)

  • Robert M. Chanock (1973)

  • William Mansfield Clark (1928)

  • Kenneth S. Cole (1956)

  • Erminio Costa (1982)

  • John Daly (1997)

  • David R. Davies (1978)

  • Vincent DeVita, Jr. (1985)

  • Edward V. Evarts (1976)

  • Donald S. Fredrickson (1973)

  • D. Carleton Gajdusek (1974)

  • Robert C. Gallo (1988)

  • Harold S. Ginsberg (1982)

  • William Archer Hagins (1979)

  • Roy Hertz (1972)

  • Claude Silbert Hudson (1927)

  • Robert J. Huebner (1960)

  • Seymour Kaufman (1986)

  • Seymour S. Kety (1962)

  • George Khoury (1987)

  • Richard M. Krause (1977)

  • Philip Leder (1979)

  • Howard A. Nash (1990)

  • Elizabeth Neufeld (1977)

  • Marshall Nirenberg (1967)

  • William E. Paul (1982)

  • Michael Potter (1981)

  • Robert H. Purcell (1988)

  • Joseph Edward Rall (1980)

  • Matilda White Riley (1994)

  • Martin Rodbell (1987)

  • John Robbins (1996)

  • Wallace Rowe (1975)

  • Lyndon Frederick Small (1941)

  • Maxine Singer (1979) *Emeritus
  • Louis Sokoloff (1980)

  • Earl Stadtman (1969)

  • Thressa C. Stadtman (1981)

  • DeWitt Stetten, Jr. (1974)

  • Harold E. Varmus (1984)

  • Bernhard Witkop (1969)

  • Ralph W. Wyckoff (1949)

  • Robert Zwanzig (1972)