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May 1, 2008

Three Columbia Faculty Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Columbia University faculty members, Gary Struhl, Carol Prives and Paul E. Olsen have been elected members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences for their excellence in original scientific research. Membership in the academy is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States. They will be inducted into the academy in April 2009 during its 146th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Professor Gary Struhl
Professor Gary Struhl

With the addition of Struhl, Prives and Olsen, Columbia University now boasts 41 faculty as elected members of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Election to the academy is a great achievement, and we are proud that Gary Struhl and Carol Prives have been selected,” said Lee Goldman, M.D., executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences of Columbia University and dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. “Having these world-class scientists on our faculty is a source of tremendous pride for our entire medical center and university community.”

“Everyone at Lamont-Doherty is proud of Paul's achievement. His election to the National Academy of Sciences is an appropriate and timely recognition of the fundamental contributions that he has made to the understanding of our earth,” said Michael Purdy, director of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory where Olsen is a researcher.

Professor Carol Prives
Professor Carol Prives

“Columbia University has a long tradition of scientific research excellence, and it is a proud day to see another three of our faculty recognized with election to the National Academy of Sciences,” said David Hirsh, executive vice president for research, Columbia University. “Drs. Struhl, Prives and Olsen together represent both our health sciences and our arts and sciences faculty. The intercampus collaboration embodied by Carol Prives, who is primarily a member of arts and sciences but who also has close ties to our medical center through her work with the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, is what sets Columbia apart as an institution of preeminence.”

Struhl is professor in the department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Struhl’s research focuses on developmental genetics in Drosophila. Much of his work has been concerned with understanding how cell and body pattern are organized during animal development. More recently, Struhl and his research team have begun to examine spatial signals that polarize cells and control growth. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he received his doctorate from Cambridge University and completed post-doctoral fellowships at Cambridge University and Harvard University.

Professor Paul E. Olsen
Professor Paul E. Olsen

Prives is the DaCosta Professor and former chair of the department of Biological Sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University, is a member of the faculty of Arts and Sciences and is an American Cancer Society Research Professor. She also is member of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center of Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Prives’ research interest is on the structure and function of p53, a pivotal tumor suppressor protein. More recently her laboratory has been at the forefront of determining the modes by which cells signal to p53 after DNA damage.

Prives is currently a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Cancer Molecular Pathobiology study section; she has served as a member of a number of scientific advisory boards and review boards, including the NIH Virology Study Section, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and the New Jersey Cancer Commission. Prives serves on the editorial boards of Cell, Genes & Development and Molecular Cancer Research. A member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Prives received her B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in biochemistry from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Olsen is the Storke Memorial Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and a member of the faculty of Arts and Sciences. His overall research focus is on the evolution of continental ecosystems, especially the pattern, causes and effects of climate change on geological time scales, mass extinctions, and the effects of evolutionary innovations on biogeochemical cycles. Projects include: drilling and study of 22,600 feet of core from 210 million-year-old lake beds to understand the influence of variations of the earth's orbit on climate; analysis of the mass extinction 201 million years ago that set up dinosaurian dominance; excavations at major fossil vertebrate sites throughout North America and Morocco; and the evolutionary events mediating the carbon cycle and climate change. He is the author of more than 170 publications and has appeared in numerous documentaries on the history of life and climate. He earned a B.A. in geology and a Ph.D. in biology from Yale University.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furthering science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Established in 1863, the National Academy of Sciences has served to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art" whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government. For more information, or for the full list of newly elected members, visit http://www.nasonline.org/site/PageServer.