8 UC Berkeley faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences

Related Posts

Eight UC Berkeley faculty have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, or NAS, this year, bringing the number of living UC Berkeley faculty in the NAS up to 135.

The newly elected UC Berkeley NAS members, announced Wednesday, are Martin Banks, Roger Falcone, Rebecca Heald, Uros Seljak, David Zilberman, Omar Yaghi, Scott Shenker and David Raulet.

The NAS is an organization of researchers, established by an act of Congress that was signed by then-president Abraham Lincoln in the 1860s to offer scientific and technological advice to the nation, according to their website. New members are elected by their peers each year based on their contributions to their fields, and selection is considered “one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.”

Banks, a campus professor of optometry, vision science, neuroscience and psychology, was “very honored to be recognized that way.” His early research was focused around the development of vision in infants and children, and he now studies adult visual perception and how information is combined between the senses.

Falcone, a professor emeritus in the department of physics, develops tools to study materials under intense light, temperature and pressure, which aid in understanding astrophysical systems and material performance.

“I was thrilled to hear that my colleagues thought my work was exciting and important,” Falcone said in an email.

As a professor of cell and developmental biology, Heald works to better understand cell division and the regulation of size in biological systems, with a focus on the mitotic spindle, which helps separate chromosomes as cells divide.

“I was totally shocked!” Heald said in an email. “When I checked my email on Tuesday morning there were a bunch of ‘Congratulations’ messages, and it took me a few minutes to figure out why. It is a huge honor and I am very happy.”

Seljak, a campus professor of astronomy and physics, said he was “grateful for their recognition of my work,” which is in theoretical modeling, simulations and data analysis cosmological observations.

Zilberman, a professor of agriculture and resource economics, develops economic models to understand issues around agriculture, economics and policy.

Professor of chemistry Yaghi is a pioneer in the emerging field of reticular chemistry, which uses a molecular building block approach to create new materials.

“I am honored to be recognized by the National Academy of Sciences, and felt very grateful to my colleagues from UC Berkeley and elsewhere who have supported me,” Yaghi said in an email.

Shenker, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, develops software-defined networking, internet architecture and data center computational frameworks.

Raulet, a professor of molecular and cell biology, develops new therapies for cancer patients, and his lab discovered how natural killer cells, a type of immune cells, recognize and destroy tumors.

“It was gratifying to receive this recognition from my colleagues in the National Academy, and a reflection of the amazing work done over the years by the many students and postdocs I have had the pleasure of mentoring in my laboratory,” Raulet said.

Contact Marlena Tavernier-Fine at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @MarlenaTF_DC.