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Six faculty elected to Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering

February 21, 2017

Six Yale School of Medicine researchers have been elected to the prestigious Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE), including: Alison P. Galvani, Jonathon Howard, Ann Kurth, Frederick J. Sigworth, Hugh S. Taylor, and Sandra Wolin. In addition to these School of Medicine faculty, seven other Yale professors have been named CASE members.

Alison P. Galvani, PhD, the Burnett and Stender Families Professor of Epidemiology, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis at the Yale School of Public Health, was cited for her work to develop mathematical models of disease transmission that use information from epidemiology, ecology, clinical medicine, economics, and psychology. Galvani's research spans epidemiological repercussions of host/pathogen heterogeneity and policy-ready assessments of the impact of human self-interest and risk perception on the success of collective infection-control policies.

Jonathon Howard, PhD, Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and professor of physics, is cited for seminal contributions in understanding the molecular properties of motor proteins, especially in deciphering how these evolutionarily conserved proteins operate as molecular machines to drive motion and regulate the growth and shrinkage of microtubules critical for biological processes such as mitosis and cellular motion.

Ann Kurth, PhD, MPH, Linda Koch Lorimer Professor and dean of Yale School of Nursing, was cited for her work as an internationally-known epidemiologist. As a clinically-trained nurse-midwife, Kurth has contributed to policies around HIV/sexual and reproductive health prevention, screening and care, as well as to global health system strengthening in the US and internationally.

Frederick J. Sigworth, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular physiology and of biomedical engineering and of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, was cited for his work to understand the intricacies of ion channel proteins. These are “molecular machines” that control electric currents carried by ions across biological membrane proteins. Sigworth developed methods for recording and analyzing the single-molecule events underlying the switching of currents, and currently studies the structure of ion-channel proteins by electron cryo-microscopy.

Hugh S. Taylor, MD, Anita O’Keeffe Young Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, and of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, was cited for his work as a renowned expert in reproductive sciences, especially in the areas of implantation, endometriosis, and menopause. Taylor’s work has led to a better understanding of endometriosis, including the genetic cause and the role of stem cells in the disease. Taylor is chair of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the School of Medicine and chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Sandra Wolin, MD, PhD, professor of cell biology and of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, was cited for her pioneering studies of how cells recognize and degrade unneeded, damaged and harmful RNA molecules which could otherwise interfere with normal cellular function. Wolin also elucidated the functions of cellular machines that bind and destroy misfolded RNAs, including discovering a novel surveillance pathway. She retired from Yale University in February 2017.

The new CASE members will be introduced at the academy’s 42nd annual meeting and dinner on May 22, 2017, at the University of Connecticut. Election to the academy is on the basis of scientific and engineering distinction, achieved through significant contributions in theory or applications, as demonstrated by original published books and papers, patents, the pioneering of new and developing fields and innovative products, outstanding leadership of nationally recognized teams, and external professional awards.

Submitted by Kathleen Frey Raven on February 21, 2017