Seven Yale scholars elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The new members will join previously elected fellows in helping to advance the common good.
2024 AAAS inductees from Yale

Top row, from left, Anne L. Alstott, Susan Baserga, Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Anna Christina Nobre. Bottom row, from left, Hee Oh, Marina Picciotto, and Karin M. Reinisch.

Seven members of the Yale faculty who have made important contributions across a range of fields, including neuroscience, public policy, medicine, theater, and mathematics, are among the 250 accomplished individuals elected new members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS).

Each year, the academy — an honorary society and independent policy organization with initiatives in the arts, democracy, education, global affairs, and science — elects new members in recognition of their notable achievements in academia, industry, policy, research, and science. The new members include 25 International Honorary Members.

The names of the newly elected members were announced on April 24. View the full list.

We honor these artists, scholars, scientists, and leaders in the public, non-profit, and private sectors for their accomplishments and for the curiosity, creativity, and courage required to reach new heights,” said David W. Oxtoby, the AAAS president. “We invite these exceptional individuals to join in the Academy’s work to address serious challenges and advance the common good.”

The academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and other early leaders of the United States with the purpose of honoring exceptionally accomplished individuals and engaging them in the betterment of society. The first members elected in 1781 included Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

The new members from Yale are:

Anne L. Alstott, the Jacquin D. Bierman Professor at Yale Law School, studies public policy toward children and families and, more broadly, public policy over the life cycle. She is the author of a number of books, including “The Public Option” (with Ganesh Sitaraman, Harvard University Press, 2019), “A New Deal for Old Age” (Harvard University Press, 2016), “No Exit: What Parents Owe Children and What Society Owes Parents” (Oxford University Press, 2004), and “The Stakeholder Society” (with Bruce Ackerman, Yale University Press, 1999). Her articles have been published in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, and other journals. She has written or co-written pieces for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, and Slate and has appeared on NPR's “Marketplace” and “On Point. She holds a secondary appointment as professor at the Yale Child Study Center and is a faculty affiliate at the Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies.

Susan Baserga, the William H. Fleming, M.D. Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and professor of genetics and of therapeutic radiology at Yale School of Medicine, has a long-standing interest in fundamental aspects of ribosome biogenesis, the nucleolus, human diseases of making ribosomes (ribosomopathies), and on the impact of ribosome biogenesis on cell growth, cell division, and cancer. Her laboratory uses a wide array of biochemical, genetic, and biophysical techniques to study the process and regulation of ribosome biogenesis, and utilizes model systems including yeast, mammalian cells, zebrafish, and frogs (Xenopus tropicalis). 

Karin M. Reinisch, the David W. Wallace Professor of Cell Biology at Yale School of Medicine and of molecular biophysics and biochemistry in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, conducts research on molecular mechanisms in membrane trafficking and membrane biology. Her lab is focused on understanding how membrane composition is established and regulated. Reinisch is particularly interested in phosphoinositide lipids, which are critical in signal transduction pathways, and their homeostasis. Using X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, and biochemistry and biophysics, her lab seeks to understand their structure and function, then test hypotheses arising from these studies using cell biology techniques.

Tarell Alvin McCraney, the Eugene O’Neill Professor in the Practice of Playwriting at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale and playwright-in-residence at Yale Repertory Theatre, is also artistic director of Geffen Playhouse, a Los Angeles nonprofit dedicated to enriching cultural life through plays and educational programs that inform, entertain, and inspire. He co-wrote the 2016 film “Moonlight,” based on his own work “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” for which he received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. His numerous awards include the Whiting Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Doris Duke Artist Award, Windham-Campbell Prize, London Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, the Paula Vogel Award, and a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship.

Anna Christina Nobre, the inaugural director of the Wu Tsai Institute’s Center for Neurocognition and Behavior and the Wu Tsai Professor of Psychology in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is a renowned cognitive neuroscientist who studies the organizing principles of the brain systems that support adaptive human cognition and behavior. Her research group is notably well known for its innovative and multi-methodological studies of “attention” — on how the brain proactively and dynamically focuses on relevant information in memory and in the external environment to optimize perception, choice, action, and learning.

Hee Oh, the Abraham Robinson Professor of Mathematics in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is a leading expert in homogeneous dynamics, discrete subgroups of Lie groups, and applications to geometry and number theory. A former Guggenheim Fellow and winner of the Satter Prize in Mathematics and the Ho-Am Prize in Science, she became the first woman to hold tenure in Yale’s Mathematics Department in 2013. In her work, she has developed innovative methods to solve many longstanding problems in geometry and number theory.

Marina Picciotto, the Charles B. G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, studies the role of single molecules in complex behaviors related to addiction, depression, and learning. Using molecular genetic, pharmacological, and in vivo imaging approaches, she and her lab aim to link the biochemical, cellular, circuit, and anatomical levels of investigation to behavior. Of primary interest is the role of acetylcholine and acetylcholine receptors in brain function and development, as well as sex differences in molecular and circuit-level signaling relevant for behavior. She is also a professor in the Child Study Center, and of neuroscience and of pharmacology.

Other newly elected members include actor, director, and producer George Clooney; Apple CEO Tim Cook; investor and philanthropist Grant Hill; and author Jhumpa Lahiri.

The new members will be inducted during a ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts in September.

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