Ruslan Medzhitov Elected to National Academy of Sciences for Work on Innate Immunity

Yale professor Ruslan Medzhitov

In recognition of his prolific contributions to the field of immunological research, Yale professor Ruslan Medzhitov, Ph.D., has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, the elite corps of researchers from the nation’s top scientific institutions.

This is the announcement sent today by Robert Alpern, M.D., Dean of the Yale School of Medicine:

To the School of Medicine Community
It gives me enormous pleasure to share the news that our colleague Ruslan M. Medzhitov, Ph.D., was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences this morning for excellence in original scientific research. This is a tremendous honor and one very richly deserved.

Professor Medzhitov, the David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology at Yale and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, is a pioneering researcher in the field of the innate immune system. He came to Yale in 1994 as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of the late Charles A. Janeway Jr., M.D. As a graduate student at Moscow State University, Professor Medzhitov was fascinated by a new theory regarding the interaction of the innate and adaptive immune systems that Dr. Janeway had proposed. Several years later, the two researchers made the groundbreaking discovery that Toll-like receptors, a component of the innate system, provide the adaptive system with the necessary information to create custom-made B and T cells that target specific bacterial or viral invaders.

Since then, Toll-like receptors have become the subject of intense research activity in laboratories around the world. In December, Professor Medzhitov was awarded the 2010 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Science, which has a long record of identifying and honoring pioneering scientists, many of whom have subsequently been honored with the Lasker Award and Nobel Prize.

Professor Medzhitov was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and earned a B.S. at Tashkent State University before going on to pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry at Moscow State University. Before coming to Yale, he was a fellow in the laboratory of Russell Doolittle, Ph.D., at the University of California San Diego.

His election today as one of 72 new members of National Academy of Sciences brings the number of current Yale faculty who are members to 60. He will be inducted into the Academy next April during its 148th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It 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.

Sincerely,

Dean Robert J. Alpern, M.D.
Ensign Professor of Medicine