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News / 05.15.05

Broad-affiliated researchers named to National Academy of Sciences

By Michelle Nhuch, Communications

In recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, Broad associate members Daniel Hartl, Christine Seidman, David Page and Broad project member Christophe Benoist were recently named to the National Academy of Sciences. Membership of the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be granted a U.S. scientist or engineer.

"On behalf of the Broad community, we are honored to count among our members such creative researchers who are dedicated to the advancement of science and its use for the common good," said Eric Lander, founding director of Broad and member of the Academy since 1997. "Their research addresses some of the key challenges towards the study of human disease, and we are thrilled that the Academy has recognized their work by election to its membership."

A professor of biology at Harvard University, Daniel Hartl is currently collaborating on the HapMap cell line project in Broad's Program in Medical and Population Genetics. Hartl's work involves analyzing polymorphism data in gene-expression levels found in humans and chimpanzees to understand the differences between the two species as well as between human populations. Hartl is also working with Broad's Infectious Disease Initiative, co-led by Dyann Wirth and Jon Clardy, to sequence the genomes of two key Plasmodium falciparum isolates as well as develop a haplotype map of the organism to help understand genetic causes of disease outcome, drug resistance, or vaccine escape. Finally, he and Clardy are teaming with Broad's Chemical Genomics Platform to identify small molecules that affect the expression of key antigenic genes involved in P. falciparum infection and immune evasion.

Also working on a project in Broad's Program in Medical and Population Genetics is Christine Seidman. A professor of medicine and genetics at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Seidman and members of her lab collaborate with Broad scientists in proteomics work to understand the cellular consequences of sarcomere gene defects that lead to cardiac hypertrophy, as well as SNP analysis to uncover the genetic bases for Tetralogy of Fallot, the most common form of complex congenital heart disease.

Christophe Benoist co-heads the immunology and immunogenetcs section at the Joslin Diabetes Center and is professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is currently involved in the Immune Circuits Project, a wide collaboration of immunology research labs at Harvard and MIT, initiated by the Broad. The goal is to perform parallel screens of RNAi libraries carried on lentiviral vectors, generated by The RNAi Consortium at Broad, to test different immunological cells and functions.

David Page is the interim director of Whitehead Institute. His work at Whitehead involves fundamental studies of mammalian sex chromosomes and their roles in germ cell development, with special attention to the function, structure, and evolution of the Y chromosome. Page is also professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

These newly elected Academy members join several other Broad NAS members, including Lander, Broad core member Stuart Schreiber, and Broad associate members Gerald Fink, Susan Lindquist, Harvey Lodish, Ed Scolnick, and Robert Weinberg.