UC Berkeley faculty members elected to National Academy of Sciences

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Six campus faculty members were elected to the National Academy of Sciences, or NAS, one of the nation’s most prestigious scientific societies, according to a Tuesday NAS release.

The six campus professors will join this year’s class of 78 other new members who meet the NAS requirement of being U.S. citizens, along with 21 new foreign associates. UC Berkeley currently boasts a total of 149 NAS members.

According to NAS spokesperson Molly Galvin, there is no application process required for acceptance by the NAS, and only current members can formally nominate new potential members. The recognition of each nomination is followed by an extensive evaluation, culminating in a final ballot at the annual NAS meeting in April.

“I’m incredibly touched that some of my colleagues put in the considerable work to nominate me,” said Steven Evans, new NAS member and UC Berkeley professor of statistics and mathematics, in an email.

Evans joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1987 and currently maintains a principal role within the campus Center for Computational Biology.

Regarding his new title, Evans added that he is excited about the “very possibility” of impacting national policy. Members of the NAS have the opportunity to provide guidance to the federal government in the fields of science, technology and health policy.

Campus professor of molecular and cell biology Susan Marqusee, another new member, said she was looking forward to contributing to the nation’s advancement of science research and education.

In addition to her position within the campus molecular and cell biology department, Marqusee is the director of the Berkeley branch of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences. She also runs her own lab, where she conducts research focusing on experimentally decoding the structural and dynamic information in proteins.

“I feel particularly lucky because I have had a terrific group of students and post-docs in my lab who have really driven this research forward,” Marqusee said in an email.

One such member of Marqusee’s lab, campus graduate Helen Hobbs, described the professor as an inspiring mentor and very much worthy of her induction into the NAS.

“I think it’s incredible news and a well-deserved honor,” Hobbs said. “Everyone in the lab is very excited for her.”

The other four campus faculty members selected this year are mathematics professor Ian Agol, molecular and cell biology professor emeritus Robert Glaeser, plant and microbial biology professor and chair Krishna Niyogi and chemistry professor Peidong Yang.

Contact Harini Shyamsundar at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @hshyamsundar.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Susan Marqusee’s research focuses on decoding the information in amino acids. In fact, her research focuses on decoding the information in proteins.