Mark Lemmon and Pasko Rakic elected to U.K.’s national science academy

Two Yale faculty members, Mark Lemmon and Pasko Rakic, have been elected to the Royal Society, the United Kingdom's national science academy.

Mark Lemmon, the David A. Sackler Professor of Pharmacology and codirector of the Yale Cancer Biology Institute, was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society. Pasko Rakic, the Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Neuroscience and professor of neurology at the Yale School of Medicine, was elected a foreign member of the society.

This year, the society recognized 50 leading scientists from or working in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, as well as 10 from other countries.

Mark Lemmon

Lemmon was recognized by the Society for his pioneering contributions to the fields of cell signaling and cancer research, with work that also addresses more basic and general questions in biochemistry and biophysics. His work has focused on the signaling mechanisms of cell surface receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) that, when mutated, cause cancers and other diseases. Due to his achievements, it is now well known how the prototypical RTK (epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGFR) signals across membranes. The results of his investigations are now helping to guide clinical decisions, bringing biochemistry and structural biology into personalized medicine.

Before moving to Yale, Dr. Lemmon was George W. Raiziss Professor and Chair of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.  He received his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Hertford College, Oxford, and his Ph.D. from Yale University.

Pasko Rakic

Rakic is a neuroscientist who studies brain development. He is recognized for elucidation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal proliferation, migration and synaptogenesis during the development of the cerebral cortex. Another goal of his research is to gain insight into the genetic and environmental causes of developmental disorders of higher brain functions.

Pasko is using a multidisciplinary approach including the most advanced methods of molecular biology and genetics to study genes and their regulatory elements involved in cortical formation. He made seminal contributions to understanding the mode of neural stem cell divisions, the magnitude of programmed cell death and the mechanisms of neuronal migration that enables the cortical expansion during evolution that culminates in humans.

Rakic, who came to Yale in 1978, served as founding chair of Yale's Department of Neuroscience (formerly neurobiology) and founding director of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience until 2015. He has received many honors, including the inaugural Kavli Prize in Neuroscience in 2008.

Founded in 1660, the Royal Society has three roles: as a provider of independent scientific advice, as a learned society, and as a funding agency. Its fellowship includes renowned scientists from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, plus foreign members from around the world.