Among the 211 new members inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in October, six were from Yale and three from the School of Medicine. The academy’s newly elected members were formally inducted into the academy during a ceremony in Cambridge, Mass., on October 31. Honored for their “unique contributions to the nation and the world,” they are:
Pietro De Camilli, M.D., professor of cell biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. De Camilli focuses his research on the biogenesis and exo-endocytosis of synaptic vesicles, the specialized secretory organelles that store and secrete neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft. Current research includes the role of phosphoinositides and other lipids in coat recruitment, the function of actin in the endocytic reaction, and properties of a variety of accessory proteins that assist the clathrin coat in assembly, invagination and fission. De Camilli also studies stiff-man syndrome, a human disease of the nervous system due to autoimmunity directed against synaptic proteins.
Ira S. Mellman, Ph.D. ’78, chair and professor of cell biology. Mellman explores fundamental questions of membrane traffic as they relate to two specific problems. The first is the question of cell polarity and asymmetry, and he aims to solve the molecular mechanisms responsible for the sorting, intracellular targeting and transport of membrane components to their appropriate membrane domains. The second is the question of antigen processing by cells of the immune system. This work involves understanding how the endocytic and biosynthetic pathways are modified and regulated to facilitate the generation of immunogenic peptides that can be loaded onto MHC class II molecules.
Joseph Schlessinger, Ph.D., chair and professor of pharmacology. Schlessinger has made pivotal contributions toward understanding hormone and growth factor receptor function, the associated signal transduction mechanisms and their relevance to human disease. He established the mechanism by which growth factor receptors are activated and discovered how signaling proteins containing sh2 and other protein modules relay information from the cell surface to the nucleus to control cell growth and differentiation. Schlessinger serves on the advisory boards of several journals, including Cell, EMBO Journal, Molecular Cell and The Journal of Cell Biology.