Skip to main content

Three faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences

April 26, 2006 By Terry Devitt

Three members of the UW–Madison faculty were among 72 individuals elected this week to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Elected to membership in the 143-year-old organization were biochemist Richard Amasino, geneticist Barry Ganetzky and climate researcher John Kutzbach.

Election to NAS is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded to an American scientist. The election of Kutzbach, Ganetzky and Amasino brings to 46 the current number of UW–Madison faculty elected to membership, the most of any public university outside of California.

Amasino, who was recently named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, is a professor of biochemistry. His lab focuses on studies of how plants respond to seasonal cues to prompt flowering. Amasino’s discoveries include finding some of the key genes that regulate when a plant flowers and that govern the plant’s internal clock. He joined the UW–Madison faculty in 1985.

Ganetzky, a professor of genetics and the Steenbock Professor of Biological Sciences, is widely known for his application of genetics to studies of how cells generate and propagate electrical impulses in the nervous system. His work has contributed to the understanding of human neurological disorders, drug discovery and insecticide development. He joined the UW–Madison faculty in 1979.

Kutzbach, professor emeritus of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and the former director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies’ Center for Climatic Research, uses powerful computer models to study past and future climate. His work has been instrumental to validating the computer models scientists use to predict future climate change. Kutzbach became a UW–Madison faculty member in 1966.

Established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln, NAS is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its uses for the general welfare. Upon request, it serves in an advisory capacity to the federal government in any matter of science or technology.