MSA Members Elected to National Academy of Sciences (NAS)

MSA Members Elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)

Congratulations to MSA members Louise Glass and Joe Heitman, recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences!

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was founded in 1863 (during the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln) to provide our nation with independent, objective leadership on any matter related to science and technology.  Advice has often centered around military concerns, for example during the world wars, but more recent efforts have focused on modern challenges, including climate change. The NAS also recognizes scientists with distinguished records of original research by electing these scientists as members, and we are proud to announce that this year, multiple mycologists were elected as NAS members!  For reasons that are not at all clear, fungal biology is not well represented within the NAS generally, but we may be at a moment of change!

Dr. Louise Glass is a pioneer and thought leader in studies of self and other recognition among fungi. Her elegant molecular work has disentangled both how one fungus chooses to fuse with another, and how another fungus chooses to reject it. Her experiments have fundamentally changed our understanding of the behaviors and natural history of fungi. The Glass laboratory has also applied systems biology approaches to define how filamentous fungi deconstruct plant biomass, as an important aspect for biotechnology and ecological role of fungi. Glass was a Karling lecturer in 2005 at the Hilo, Hawaii, meeting.

Dr. Joseph Heitman is a visionary whose groundbreaking genetic studies of human pathogenic and other fungi have leveraged both model and non-model systems to understand determinants of virulence and mating. His research integrates many cellular phenotypes into signaling pathways, enabling us to understand new connections between fungal phenotype and genotype. We note Dr. Heitman was our Karling lecturer in 2011 at the Fairbanks, Alaska, meeting.

And while they may not be MSA members (…yet) we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that in addition to Drs. Glass and Heitman, Drs. Kerry Bloom, Anita Hopper, Judith Frydman, Geeta Narlikar, and Regina Kahmann were elected, as was Barbara Valent last year!

Louise, Joe, everyone: we raise a glass of our favorite yeasty (!) beverage as a toast to you all.  Maybe we’ll eat a slice of penicillium infected milk with that.  Or, you know, if we get really crazy we’ll eat some Neurospora-infected onchom.  Congratulations!