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UW-Madison geneticist elected to National Academy of Sciences

May 3, 2011 By Chris Barncard

Ching Kung, Vilas Professor of Genetics and Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences today in recognition of his “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

Kung studies the way microbes process sensory information through ion channels, gateways through cell membranes that allow electrically charged atoms to pass in and out of the cell to spark or suppress cell activity. Kung’s lab has pioneered the use of patch clamps — sensors attached to individual cells — to monitor ion channels in paramecium, yeast and E. coli.

The 72 new members in Kung’s 2011 class bring the number of active Academy members to 2,113. Forty-one of those are members of the UW–Madison faculty.

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.