Seven Faculty Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has honored seven Yale faculty with election as new members: Joseph G. Altonji, Peter Cresswell, Paul Harris Freedman, Alanna Schepartz, Günter P. Wagner, Elisabeth Jean Wood and Craig Milton Wright.

They are among the 229 leaders in the sciences, humanities and the arts, business, public affairs and the non-profit sector who this year joined the academy, one of the world’s most prestigious honorary societies. Other new members named in this, the academy’s 230th year, include are CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour; actor, writer comedian Steve Martin; film director Francis Ford Coppola; New York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks; and actor John Lithgow.

Brief profiles of the Yale inductees follow:

Joseph G. Altonji, the Thomas DeWitt Cuyler Professor of Economics, specializes in labor economics and applied econometrics. His current research focuses on changes in the quality of American workers, the role of families and schools in inequality, black-white differences in wealth, the earning of immigrants in the United States and their home countries, the effects of private schools, earnings over a career, and econometric methods. He has been on the Yale faculty since 2002.

Peter Cresswell, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Immunobiology and professor of cell biology and dermatology, is an expert on how the immune system recognizes infectious agents. His research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of antigen processing and the antiviral mechanisms of proteins inducible by Type 1 and Type 2 interferons. He has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator since 1991, when he joined the Yale faculty.

Paul Harris Freedman, the Chester D. Tripp Professor of History, specializes in medieval social history, the history of Spain, the spice trade and the history of cuisine. He is editor of “Images of the Medieval Peasant” (winner of the Haskins Medal, the Otto Gründler Prize and the Eugene Kayden Award in the Humanities), and author of “Food: The History of Taste” (honored in 2008 by the International Association of Culinary Professionals), among other works. He has been at Yale since 1997.

Alanna Schepartz, the Milton Harris ‘29 Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry and professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, designs molecules that can monitor, manipulate or mimic interactions between proteins in living cells. She is also chair of the advisory committee that is overseeing the development of the Institute for Chemical Biology on the West Campus. A Yale faculty member since 1988, she has held a Howard Hughes Medical Institute professorship and was the inaugural recipient of the ACS Chemical Biology Prize in 2010.

Günter P. Wagner, the Alison Richard Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is an expert on the genetics of development and uses mathematical modeling to understand complex molecular adaptations of organisms, with a focus on the molecular evolution of Hox genes and their role in the origin and early evolution of tetrapod limbs. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the evolution of regulatory network of genes. A native of Vienna, Austria, Wagner joined the Yale faculty in 1991.

Elizabeth Jean Wood, professor of political science, focuses her research on sexual violence in war, social movements and collective action, and distributional politics, particularly in Latin America. She joined the Yale faculty in 2004 and is also a professor at the Santa Fe Institute, an interdisciplinary research organization of applied science. Her book “Insurgent Collective Action and Civil War in El Salvador” (2003) received the 2005 Luebbert Award of the American Political Science Association.

Craig Milton Wright, the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music, is both a musician and a music historian with particular expertise in the early medieval to late baroque period. His music appreciation class, one of the most widely attended of Yale’s survey courses, is offered online as an Open Yale Course. A Yale faculty member since 1973, he is one of the few individuals to be awarded musicology’s three most prestigious awards: the Dent medal, the Einstein Prize and the Kinkeldey Award.

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