3 UCLA professors elected to National Academy of Sciences
Three UCLA professors have been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences "in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research," the academy announced today.
Membership in the academy is one of the highest honors given to a scientist in the United States. Among the academy's most renowned members are Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright and Alexander Graham Bell. There are currently 2,150 active academy members, of whom nearly 200 have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
The election of this year's UCLA members — who are among 72 new members from across the U.S. and 18 foreign associates from 15 countries — brings the number of current UCLA academy members to 33.
The new UCLA members are:
Feigon, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and her colleagues study nucleic acid structure and specific recognition of nucleic acids by proteins. She utilizes a range of molecular biological, biochemical and biophysical techniques to determine the three-dimensional structures of DNA and RNA, to investigate their interactions with various proteins and ligands, and to study nucleic acid folding.Taylor, a distinguished professor of psychology, brings together elements of genetics, psychology, neuroscience and related fields in her research on social relationships and how they protect against stress. An important theme in her work is the impact of intensely stressful, negative events on people's behavior and health and how individuals cope with these events. She is a founder of this area of research and of health psychology in general. Taylor also studies the biological benefits of social support.Zipursky, a professor of biological chemistry and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, studies the molecular mechanisms regulating neuronal connections, using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. Drosophila has some 250,000 neurons that are precisely interconnected by millions of synaptic connections to form neural circuits. Zipursky's research has clarified how these circuits form during development and has identified the specific molecular labels on the surface of different neurons that provide the basis for connection specificity.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology. The academy is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare.
For a full list of the new academy members, see the academy's press release.
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 323 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.