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Sestan Among Six Yale Faculty Members Elected to National Academy of Medicine

October 21, 2019

Six Yale faculty members have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), the organization announced Oct. 21 at its annual meeting.

The six faculty are among 100 new members elected by the organization to receive the honor, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service in the fields of health and medicine.

The Yale winners are:

Nenad Sestan

The neurobiologist studies the molecular and cellular basis of brain development, exploring how neurons acquire distinct identities and form proper synaptic connections in the cerebral cortex, a part of the brain that is critical for cognition, perception, and behavior.

Sestan is the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neuroscience, professor of comparative medicine and of genetics and psychiatry, as well as executive director of the Genome Editing Center.

Nita Ahuja

The surgeon is internationally recognized for her expertise in gastrointestinal cancers, including gastric, rectal, and pancreatic cancers and for being a passionate advocate for mentorship of trainees, staff, and faculty.

Ahuja is also a leader in translational epigenetics, and initiating clinical trials in colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and other solid tumors. In addition, she has developed biomarkers for early detection of colorectal and pancreatic cancers.

Ahuja is the William H. Carmalt Professor of Surgery, chair of the Department of Surgery at the Yale School of Medicine, and chief of surgery at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Jorge E. Galán

The cell biologist studies the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of Salmonella and Campylobacter, which cause the majority of food-borne illnesses in the world. His lab uses a multidisciplinary approach to study the interface between pathogen and host. He discovered that bacteria such as Salmonella use a needle-like complex of more than 30 proteins to infect and replicate within host cells.

Galán is the Lucille B. Markey Professor of Microbiology, chair of the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, and professor of cell biology.

Akiko Iwasaki

Iwasaki’s research focuses on the mechanisms of immune defense against viruses at the mucosal surfaces. Her laboratory is interested in how innate recognition of viral infections lead to the generation of adaptive immunity, and how adaptive immunity protects against subsequent viral challenge. She recently showed that a new vaccine strategy can provide preventive and therapeutic protection against viral infections.

She is Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology, professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, professor of dermatology, and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Rafael Pérez-Escamilla

The epidemiologist has launched public health nutrition and food security research programs globally, which have been credited with the improvement of many measurements of health including breastfeeding outcomes and iron-deficiency anemia in infants. His health disparities research has focused on the impact of community health workers at improving behavioral and metabolic outcomes among Latinos with type 2 diabetes.

He is professor of epidemiology & public health, director of the Office of Public Health Practice, and director of the Global Health Concentration at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH).

David Schatz

The immunobiologist has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms that assemble and diversify the genes that encode antibodies and T cell receptors.

He is Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology, professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and chair of Immunobiology.

Established originally as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, NAM addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine, and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors. NAM works alongside the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on October 21, 2019