Six Yale professors elected to National Academy of Sciences

David Bercovici, Igor B. Frenkel, Akiko Iwasaki, Haifan Lin, David Schatz, and Gunter Wagner have received the prestigious honor for their research at Yale.

Six Yale faculty members have been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

The NAS announced today the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Those elected today bring the total number of active members to 2,382 and the total number of foreign associates to 484. Foreign associates are nonvoting members of the Academy, with citizenship outside the United States.

Election to the National Academy of Sciences is a tremendous recognition of accomplishments and impact,” said Peter Schiffer, vice provost for research. “Having six new members of the NAS, cutting across many fields, is strong testimony to the strength and breadth of Yale’s science faculty.”

Brief profiles of new NAS members:

David Bercovici

David Bercovici

Bercovici is the Frederick W. Beinecke Professor of Geology and Geophysics, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union. His many other honors include the James B. Macelwane Medal from the American Geophysical Union, being named a Presidential Young Investigator by the National Science Foundation and the Francis Birch Lecturer by the American Geophysical Union.

Bercovici joined the Yale faculty in 2001. His research focuses on mantle convection, lithosphere dynamics and the origin of plate tectonics, water and volatiles in the mantle and the geochemical evolution of the Earth, hotspots and mantle plumes, volcanic flows and eruptions, and carbon sequestration.

Igor Frenkel

Igor Frenkel

Frenkel is professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Frenkel is a leading representation theorist and mathematical physicist, with focuses on infinite-dimensional algebras and applications of Lie theory. He received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1980 and his mathematical work includes construction of the monster vertex algebra and knot theory.

Akiko Iwasaki

Akiko Iwasaki

Iwasaki is the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. 

Iwasaki’s research focuses on the mechanisms of immune defense against viruses at mucosal surfaces. Her laboratory has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how innate recognition of viral infections leads to the adaptive immune response, and how adaptive immunity mediates protection against subsequent viral challenges. Her work spans diseases caused by such viruses as herpes, influenza, rhinovirus, human papillomavirus, and Zika.

Hainfan Lin

Haifan Lin

Lin is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Cell Biology, and professor of genetics and of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences

Lin is the founding director of the Yale Stem Cell Center, and investigates mechanisms underlying the self-renewing division of stem cells, focusing on the processes required for renewal of germline and embryonic stem cells. The ability of stem cells to self-renew and create specialized daughter cells plays a central role in generating and maintaining most tissues in higher organisms.

David G. Schatz

David G. Schatz

Schatz is the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology, professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and chair of the Department of Immunobiology.

Shatz has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms that assemble and diversify antigen receptor genes that encode antibodies and T cell receptors. He is best known for the discovery of the recombination activating genes RAG1 and RAG2, subsequent biochemical insights into RAG function and evolutionary origins, and the discovery of two distinct levels of regulation of somatic hypermutation.

Günter Wagner

Günter Wagner

Wagner is the Alison Richard Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Wagner’s research focuses on the evolution of gene regulation as it relates to the origin of evolutionary novelties. His lab conducts research on the evolution of endometrial stromal cells in the context of the evolutionary origin of pregnancy, and on the developmental basis of character identity — for instance, in the case of digit identity in birds.

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