Seven Simons-Supported Researchers and Advisory Board Member Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

The following Simons Foundation researchers were elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on April 28: SFARI investigators Aravinda Chakravarti, Catherine Dulac, Danny Reinberg and Marlene Behrmann Cohen; MPS Investigator in Mathematics Alex Eskin; Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain Investigator Karel Svoboda and Quanta Advisory Board member Leslie Vosshall.

The NAS is a private nonprofit organization of some of the leading scientific researchers in the U.S. The organization seeks to provide independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Members are elected to the NAS by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Including its newest class, the academy now has 2,250 active members.

Aravinda Chakravarti is director of the Center for Complex Disease Genomics and professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. His laboratory focuses on the development and applications of genetic, genomic and computational technologies and perspectives for gene discovery in a variety of human diseases. He and his team aim to assess how genetic information can be used in modern clinical medicine.

Catherine Dulac is the Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. She and her group use molecular, genetic and electrophysiological techniques to explore the molecular and neuronal basis of innate social behaviors in mice.

Danny Reinberg is professor of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at New York University School of Medicine. He studies the regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes, with an emphasis on the role of chromatin structure and the processes that regulate it. Most recently, his research has focused on chromatin-modifying complexes and the means by which they are recruited to target sites in the genome.

Marlene Behrmann Cohen is director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition and professor of neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Her laboratory studies the necessary psychological processes and representations that underlie abilities such as object, face and word recognition, scene recognition, and visuospatial representations. Additionally, her team aims to uncover the neural systems that are engaged in visual cognition.

Alex Eskin is professor of mathematics at the University of Chicago. He is a leading geometer who has made contributions to geometric group theory, ergodic theory and number theory. Eskin applies ideas from dynamical systems to solve counting problems in the theory of Diophantine equations, the theory of the mapping class group and mathematical billiards on rational polygons.

Karel Svoboda is a group leader at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia. The Svoboda laboratory has investigated the structure, function and plasticity of cortical circuits in behaving mice, mainly in the context of active, tactile sensation. Svoboda’s current areas of investigation include deciphering the neural code underlying tactile sensation at the level of defined cell types and individual spikes, the cortical mechanisms of motor planning and movement execution based on tactile evidence, the interactions of the cortex with thalamus and basal ganglia that underlie tactile decision behaviors, and development of new optical, molecular and behavioral methods for circuit neuroscience.

Leslie Vosshall is the Robin Chemers Neustein Professor and head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at Rockefeller University in New York. The goal of her research is to understand how behaviors emerge from the integration of sensory input with internal physiological states. Working with Drosophila melanogaster flies, mosquitoes and people, Vosshall’s research has yielded new knowledge about how odor stimuli are processed and perceived.

Finally, Simons Foundation co-founder Jim Simons, elected to the NAS last year, was inducted to the NAS on April 25th in Washington, D.C.