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Nine From Medical School Are Among 13 Yale Faculty Named to Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering

February 20, 2019

The Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering has elected 24 new members. Thirteen are Yale faculty members, of whom nine have appointments at the School of Medicine.

From the School of Medicine:

Serap Aksoy, PhD, professor of epidemiology (microbial diseases), School of Public Health, cited for studies on biology of tsetse flies and trypanosome pathogens; seminal discoveries of determinants of multipartite interactions of tsetse, trypanosome parasites, and beneficial symbiotic microbes providing innovative and global research approaches for control of African trypanosomiasis, a neglected fatal disease of humans/animals; forming international consortia for research and science capacity building.

Jaime Grutzendler, MD, Dr. Harry M. Zimmerman and Dr. Nicholas and Viola Spinelli Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, cited for contributions to understanding of neuro-glial-vascular physiology and interactions in health and disease, as well as for pioneering applications and development of methodologies for optical imaging of synaptic, myelin,vascular, and glial plasticity in live mice.

Vivian F. Irish, PhD, Eaton Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, cited for outstanding contributions to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying flower development, including the identification and characterization of transcription factors that regulate this process, revealed through elegant genetic and molecular analysis.

Shuangge Steven Ma, PhD, professor of statistics, School of Public Health, cited for foundational contributions to the development of statistical techniques, including cutting-edge statistical methods for analysis of -omics and public health studies; crucial contributions to cancer genetics and health care research; >200 publications in leading scientific journals; a deep commitment to outstanding teaching and scientific dissemination both in Connecticut and globally.

Harvey Risch, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology (chronic disease), School of Public Health, cited for his fundamental contributions to the understanding of the causes of cancer, particularly of the lung, ovary and pancreas. His work, comprising more than 300 original research publications in the biomedical literature, has proposed practical approaches for prevention of these highly fatal diseases.

David G. Schatz, PhD, chair and Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology, and professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, cited or fundamental contributions to understanding mechanisms that assemble and diversify antigen receptor genes that encode antibodies and T cell receptors; and discovery of recombination activating genes RAG1 and RAG2, subsequent biochemical insights into RAG function and evolutionary origins, and discovery of two distinct levels of regulation of somatic hypermutation.

Eugene D. Shapiro, MD, professor of pediatrics (general pediatrics) and of epidemiology (microbial diseases), cited for major contributions to the prevention and the treatment of infectious diseases in both children and adults, including the clinical effectiveness of vaccines, and to the diagnosis, management and epidemiology of Lyme disease, as well as for leadership in training clinical investigators and for his steadfast public advocacy of science.

Jeffrey P. Townsend, PhD, Elihu Professor of Biostatistics (School of Public Health), cited for the development of innovative approaches to population biology, including the evolution of antimicrobial resistance, disease evolution and transmission, and evolution of tumorigenesis; and research that has enabled curtailment of pathogen evolution, outbreak mitigation, and informed therapeutic approaches to cancer metastasis and evolution of therapeutic resistance in cancer.

Günter P. Wagner, PhD, Alison Richard Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, cited in recognition of fundamental contributions to the understanding of complex organisms.

Additional Yale faculty:

Michelle L. Bell, PhD, Mary E. Pinchot Professor of Environmental Health, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, cited for advances in our understanding of how air pollution impacts human health, how weather conditions have impacted health including mortality and hospital admissions, and how health is affected by the complex systems of urbanicity, green space and vegetation, [and] social and economic systems, as well as traditional environmental exposures.

David Bercovici, PhD, Frederick William Beinecke Professor of Geophysics, and chair of Geology & Geophysics, cited for research contributions 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.

Gary W. Brudvig, PhD, Benjamin Silliman Professor of Chemistry, cited for work in natural photosynthesis and in applying his knowledge for alternative solar energy applications in artificial photosynthesis.

William K. Lauenroth, professor in the practice, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, cited for outstanding contributions to our understanding of the plant populations and community ecology of dry land ecosystems across the globe including the role of grazing management to the health of these vital ecosystems.

Election to CASE 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 technical teams, and external professional awards in recognition of scientific and engineering excellence. 

Submitted by Robert Forman on February 20, 2019