Six Yale researchers, five with appointments at the School of Medicine and one from the School of Nursing, were among the 64 scientists elected in late October to the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

The IOM was formed in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to honor professional achievement in the health sciences and to serve as a national resource for independent analysis and policy recommendations on issues related to medicine, biomedical sciences and health.

“This is unprecedented,” says Dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine Robert J. Alpern, M.D., noting that, since its founding, no more than three Yale scientists have been elected to the IOM in a single year.

The 2005 elections bring the number of Yale faculty members in the IOM to 37, including three at the School of Nursing, two at the School of Management, two in the Law School and one at Yale-New Haven Hospital, which gives Yale one of the highest concentrations of IOM members of any institution in the nation, Alpern says.

The six elected in October, who were honored at a December reception in the Medical Historical Library, are Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D., chair and professor of psychology, professor of epidemiology and director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity; Pietro De Camilli, M.D., Eugene Higgins Professor of Cell Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and co-director of the newly formed program in Cellular Neuroscience and Neurodegeneration Research (see “Neuroscientists Target Disorders of the Brain and Spinal Cord”); Margaret Grey, R.N., Dr.PH., dean of the School of Nursing; and Joseph Schlessinger, Ph.D., chair and William H. Prusoff Professor of Pharmacology; Gerald I. Shulman, M.D., Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of medicine and of cellular and molecular physiology; Joan A. Steitz, Ph.D., Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Bio-chemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

Brownell is best known for his efforts to curb obesity. De Camilli, a cell biologist, studies synaptic vesicles, which deliver neurotransmitters into the junctions between nerve cells. Schlessinger studies growth factor receptors and the intracellular signaling pathways they activate. Shulman is an expert on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes mellitus and the benefits of exercise in diabetes management. Steitz discovered snRNPs, small particles inside cells that are necessary to convert genetic information into active proteins. Grey studies children’s adaptation to chronic illnesses, particularly type 1 diabetes.