Yale’s Roeder Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Yale University’s G. Shirleen Roeder, a world expert on the genetic shuffling which takes place during the formation of sex cells, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors bestowed upon a scientist in the United States.

Roeder, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Professor of Genetics at the Yale School of Medicine, was elected along with 71 other scientists, joining such members as Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright, and Alexander Graham Bell. Roeder’s election brings to 59 the number of Yale faculty elected to NAS. NAS currently has more than 2000 active members and more than 180 living academy members have won Nobel Prizes.

Through exhaustive studies in yeast, Roeder’s lab has been able to identify some of the key proteins involved in the transfer of segments between two chromosomes during the cellular process of meiosis. Her work has also pinpointed many molecular mechanisms crucial to formation of gametes, or sex cells.

“Using a combination of genetic, molecular and cytological approaches, my lab has characterized in molecular detail several important aspects of meiotic chromosome segregation,” Roeder said. “The Academy’s acknowledgment of our contributions is extremely gratifying. It is an honor and a privilege to join such a select group of scientists.”

“Shirleen and her colleagues in the laboratory resourcefully applied genetic analysis and microscopy to discover some of the key proteins involved with exchange of DNA between chromosomes, one of the characteristic steps in sexual reproduction and the evolution of organisms like ourselves,” said Thomas Pollard, chair of the department and Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, of Cell Biology and of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. “The department of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology is thrilled that Shirleen Roeder’s contributions to genetics and cell biology have been recognized with her election to the National Academy of Sciences.”

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Bill Hathaway: william.hathaway@yale.edu, 203-432-1322