Three Faculty Elected AAAS Fellows

Photograph: Bruce Berne.
Photograph: Stephen P. Goff.
Photograph: I. Bernard Weinstein.

Three faculty members at Columbia have been elected Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

They are Bruce Berne, professor of chemistry, and two members of the Faculty of Medicine: Stephen P. Goff, Higgins Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and I. Bernard Weinstein, director of the Columbia-Presbyterian Cancer Center and Frode Jensen Professor of Medicine, Genetics and Development and Public Health.

With their election, Columbia faculty who are Fellows of the Academy now number 93.

The Academy, founded in 1780 by John Adams, elected 162 new Fellows at its 215th annual meeting in April "for distinguished contributions to science, the humanities, public affairs and the arts."

Among its more than 3,800 Fellows are 156 Nobel laureates and 61 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Berne is a pioneer in molecular dynamics, a method used to simulate many-body systems on computers. He was the first to apply molecular dynamics to simulate molecules in condensed states of matter, such as liquids, and has continued to develop new and powerful algorithms in this field. He has made major contributions to the theory of chemical reaction rates and to the study of dynamic processes in condensed phases of matter.

The Columbia chemist has also made important contributions to the field of dynamic laser light scattering, and, with Robert Pecora of Stanford, wrote a highly regarded book on the subject.

He earned the B.S. degree in chemistry from Brooklyn College in 1961 and the Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Chicago in 1964. He has been a Columbia faculty member since 1966.

Previous awards include an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three National Science Foundation Creativity Awards, an Alexander von Humboldt Senior U.S. Scientist Award and, in the last year, the American Chemical Society's Award in Theoretical Chemistry. He has published three books and more than 200 research papers in refereed journals.

Goff currently heads a laboratory studying the replication of retroviruses and the functions of tyrosine kinase oncogenes.

His graduate work focused on the genetic analysis of the replication of SV40, a simian tumor virus, and on the use of SV40 as a viral vector for the expression of foreign DNAs in mammalian cells.

He also conducted postdoctoral work with David Baltimore at MIT on the replication functions of the murine leukemia viruses.

He received the A.B. degree in biophysics from Amherst in 1973 and the Ph.D. in biochemistry from Stanford in 1978. He joined Columbia's faculty in 1981.

He has been awarded an Irma T. Hirschl Career Development Award, a Searle Scholarship, the Harold and Golden Lamport Research Award from Columbia, and a Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health.

Goff was selected as co-organizer of the Cold Spring RNA Tumor Virus meetings in 1988 and 1994 and was elected co-chairman of the Animal Cells and Viruses Gordon Conference in 1989.

He serves as reviewing editor for the academic journals Science, Cell, Journal of Virology and Virology.

Weinstein has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which chemicals ingested from diet or from the environment can cause the conversion of normal cells to cancer cells. His early research provided evidence that the genetic code for amino acids in proteins is the same in a variety of cell types, including cancer cells.

His research group discovered how certain carcinogens bind to DNA and distort its structure, thus initiating the cancer-causing process.

These studies led to the development of highly sensitive methods for detecting these events in humans, and to the concept of molecular epidemiology, a new approach to studying the causation of specific cancers in humans. In more recent studies, he has demonstrated that protein kinase C, an enzyme that controls growth, and the gene cyclin D1, which controls the cell cycle in humans, play critical roles in the later stages of the carcinogenic process.

Weinstein received his B.S. and M.D. degrees at the University of Wisconsin, which in 1992 awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Science.

He completed his clinical training at Montefiore Hospital in New York and undertook postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health, Harvard and MIT.

He joined the Columbia faculty in 1961 and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American College of Physicians.


Columbia University Record -- May 26, 1995 -- Vol. 20, No. 30