3 UCSF Faculty Elected to the National Academy of Medicine for 2016

By Nina Bai

Three UC San Francisco faculty members are among the 70 new members and nine international members elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

Membership in NAM recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service in the medical sciences, health care and public health. The most recent UCSF members to join this distinguished group are:

Joseph DeRisi
Joseph L. DeRisi, PhD

DeRisi is a molecular biologist and biochemist whose lab uses whole genome approaches to detect and fight infectious diseases, such as malaria. His lab also is developing technologies to solve a wide variety of biological mysteries, from the causes of lethal brain infections to the origins of honey bee collapse.

DeRisi joined UCSF in 1999 and has served as chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. He is a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, MacArthur Fellow, and this year was elected also to the National Academy of Sciences.

Elissa Epel
Elissa S. Epel, PhD

Epel is a health psychologist who studies the biological effects of stress in the lab and in the field. She examines how stress processes lead to early disease precursors, such as compulsive overeating, abdominal obesity and immune cell aging.

With colleagues Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, and Jue Lin, PhD, she found that stress is related to telomere shortness and dampened telomerase activity and is studying how stress resilience interventions may enhance functioning of the telomere/telomerase maintenance system as well as improve metabolic health.

Bruce Miller
Bruce L. Miller, MD

Miller is a behavioral neurologist whose work focuses on dementia, ranging from the genetic and molecular underpinnings of the disease to brain and behavior relationships. His work in frontotemporal dementia investigates the behavioral and emotional deficits as well as the visual creativity that characterize the condition.

He is principal investigator of the NIH-sponsored Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, co-director of the Global Brain Health Institute, and leader of two philanthropy-funded research consortia, the Tau Consortium and the Consortium for Frontotemporal Research. He is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and recipient of its Potamkin Award.

This year’s newly elected members raise NAM’s total active membership to 1,947 and the number of international members to 146. New members are elected by current active members.

With this announcement, a total of 100 people from UCSF are now members of the NAM.

The National Academy of Medicine works together with the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering and medicine.

For more campus news and resources, visit Pulse of UCSF.

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