Alberts Issues Challenge to New NAS Members

NAS president Bruce Alberts Along with the honor that comes with this year's election of new members into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) also comes a challenge: Get involved. Bruce Alberts, NAS president, urges new inductees to step up their efforts to influence public policy. "A major role of the academy is to encourage scientists to be more active in their community,"

June 8, 1998

NAS president Bruce Alberts
Along with the honor that comes with this year's election of new members into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) also comes a challenge: Get involved.

Bruce Alberts, NAS president, urges new inductees to step up their efforts to influence public policy. "A major role of the academy is to encourage scientists to be more active in their community," Alberts emphasizes.

NAS elected 60 new members and 15 foreign associates at its 135th annual meeting on April 28 in Washington, D.C. The election brings the total active membership roll to 1,798 and the foreign associates roll to 310. Academy membership is among the highest honors for a scientist or engineer.

Alberts notes that reports generated by members in the past have lent support to the implementation of the Human Genome Project and the modification of a law that forbade carcinogenic additives in amounts too small to have any deleterious effect on health.

In addition to providing analysis of the federal research budget, Alberts says, the NAS should provide a strong voice for improving science education in the United States. In his speech at the annual meeting, Alberts noted that U.S. high school and elementary science students suffer scholastically in comparison with their international counterparts. He noted that U.S. high school students out-performed only two other countries on science aptitude tests.

Perhaps more dire, the top 10 percent of high school students ranked last in comparison with their international counterparts. "We can and must do better if we are to remain a strong and productive nation throughout the next century," Alberts stated. The NAS can challenge U.S. schools to higher standards and work to improve the science curriculum in U.S. schools, Alberts said.

Michael S. Levine, a professor of genetics at the University of California, Berkeley, is one of the life scientists among the 1998 inductees. He agrees that scientists should be more closely engaged in society. "It's a nice honor," notes Levine, who was nominated in part for his work connecting gene expression with regulatory development in embryonic Drosophila. "I want to continue to do good work to prove I belong there."

Other life scientist inductees this year include Jan A.D. Zeevaart, a professor of plant biology at Michigan State University (MSU) and an investigator in the MSU Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory. In more than 20 years of research at MSU, he has studied something to suit almost anyone's taste: peaches, tomatoes, corn, spinach, and even tobacco. In the process, Zeevaart's studies have given scientists a better understanding of the process of photoperiodism in plants and how plant growth hormones mediate environmental signals such as light and moisture.

His recent studies have focused on how water stress to plants can activate certain biochemical pathways regulating growth. Throughout his career, Zeevaart has used a multidisciplinary approach to research, combining biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology to create a deeper understanding of plant growth. Zeevaart says his election to NAS is especially gratifying because it represents the recognition of peers in his field and in the scientific community at large.

"Plant biologists are small in number compared to biochemists, cell biologists, and molecular biologists," Zeevaart says. "We also tend to keep a low profile. So it's a great honor to have a career in research recognized this way."

Martin A. Malcolm, chief of the laboratory of molecular microbiology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was nominated in recognition of his work on HIV. His lab investigates HIV-1 gene regulation, the synthesis of structural proteins, and virion assembly. It has also conducted research in attenuated SIV vaccines.

John J. Mekalanos, the Lehman professor and chair of the department of microbiology and molecular genetics at Harvard Medical School, is primarily engaged in biochemical and genetic analysis of bacterial virulence factors. Understanding the mechanism of signal transduction that regulates these virulence factors is a major goal of the lab, which ultimately will integrate such information into bacterial genome projects.

Carl O. Pabo, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of biophysics and structural biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studies how proteins recognize specific sites on double-stranded DNA and how the bound proteins regulate gene expression. His laboratory has characterized the structures of many protein-DNA complexes and is engaged in using this information to design novel DNA-binding proteins for research, diagnosis, and therapy.

Photos of these and other new NAS members are below.

David E. Aspnes
North Carolina State University, Raleigh

Bruce J. Berne
Columbia University, New York

William A. Brock
University of Wisconsin, Madison

A. Welford Castleman
Pennsuylvania State University, University Park

William L. Chameldes
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

Douglas L. Coleman
Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor Maine

Elizabeth Anne Craig
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Roy G. D'Andrade
University of California, San Diego

Ingrid Daubechies
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Charles A. Dinarello
University of Colorado, Denver

David L. Donoho
Stanford University, Stanford, Calif

William F. Dove
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Robert N. Eisenman
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle

Morris P. Fiorina, Jr.
MIT, Cambridge, Mass.

E. Norval Fortson
University of Washington, Seattle

Perry A. Frey
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Susan Gottesman
National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.

Norma Graham
Columbia University, New York

Charles G. Gross
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Donald A. Gurnett
University of Iowa, Iowa City

John M. Hayes
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.

Roman Jackiw
MIT, Cambridge, Mass.

Thomas H. Jordan
MIT, Cambridge, Mass.

Robert P. Kirshner
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Mike V. Klein
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Michael S. Levine
University of California, Berkeley

Malcolm A. Martin
Nat'l Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD

Douglas S. Massey
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

John J. Mekalanos
Harvard Medical School, Boston

James K. Mitchell
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

James M. Moran
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass.

Craig Morris
American Museum of Natural History, New York

Eva J. Neer
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston

Carl O. Pabo
MIT, Cambridge, Mass

Paul H. Rabinowitz
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Sherwin Rosen
University of Chicago

Joan V. Ruderman
Harvard Medical School, Boston

J. William Schopf
University of California, Los Angeles

William R. Schowalter
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Lu Jen Sham
University of California, San Diego

Brian J. Staskawicz
University of California, Berkeley

Paul J. Steinhardt
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Melvin E. Stern
Florida State University, Tallahassee

Audrey Stevens
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Kenneth N. Stevens
MIT, Cambridge, Mass.

Nobuo Suga
Washington University, St. Louis

Jack W. Szostak
Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass.

Lewis G. Tilney
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Roger Y. Tsien
University of California, San Diego

David B. Wake
University of California, Berkeley

Robert G. Webster
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.

Susan R. Wessler
University of Georgia, Athens

Michael S. Witherell
University of California, Santa Barbara

Richard L. Witter
Michigan State University, East Lansing

Andrew C. Yao
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Jan A.D. Zeevaart
Michigan State University, East Lansing
New NAS Members (not pictured)
Ronald R. Coifman
Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
David C. Ward
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.
Martin Saunders
Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
H. Boyd Woodruff
Soil Microbiology Associates, Inc. Watchung, NJ
Duilio Arigoni
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (Switzerland)
Hans R. Herren
International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya (Switzerland)
Kiyosi Itô
Kyoto University (Japan)
Roger Penrose
Pennsylvania State University, University Park; and Oxford University (U.K.)
Peter Doherty
St. Jude Children's Hospital, Memphis, Tenn. (Australia)
Bert Hölldobler
University of Würzburg (Germany)
Maarten Koornneef
Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen (Netherlands)
Romuald Schild
Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw (Poland)
Bryan D. Harrison
Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee, Scotland (U.K.)
Anthony R. Hunter
Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Calif (U.K.)
Olli V. Lounasmaa
Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo (Finland)
Yasuo Tanaka
Max Plank Institut Für Extraterrestriche Physik, Garching, Germany (Japan)
Richard Henderson
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England (U.K.)
Edward Irving
Geological Survey of Canada, Sidney, British Columbia (Canada)
Lello Orci
University of Geneva Medical School, Geneva, Switzerland (Italy)

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