Jason Cyster Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

By Nina Bai

Jason Cyster
Jason Cyster, PhD

UC San Francisco immunologist Jason Cyster, PhD, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which honors exceptional scholars, leaders, artists, and innovators.

Cyster is professor of microbiology and immunology at UCSF and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

He is among the 213 new members elected to the 2018 class, spanning a wide range of disciplines and professions. Among this year’s class are author Ta-Nehisi Coates; actor Tom Hanks; Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff; Netflix CEO W. Reed Hastings, Jr.; Supreme Court Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor; gene editing developer Feng Zhang; and the 44th President of the United States, Barack H. Obama.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world.

Cyster’s research has focused on how immune cells and antigens come together to generate immune responses. This involves deciphering the molecular cues that guide immune cell movements within lymphoid organs, such as the spleen and lymph nodes, and their egress to sites of infection. Using real-time two-photon microscopy, his lab has visualized the dynamics of B cell-antigen encounters in lymphoid organs and the selection and maturation of B cells in germinal centers. Insights from his work have contributed to the FDA approval of an immune modulating drug and are featured in immunology textbooks.

Cyster has been on the UCSF faculty since 1995. He joins over 65 UCSF faculty members who have been elected to the Academy over the years.

“Membership in the Academy is not only an honor, but also an opportunity and a responsibility,” said Jonathan Fanton, President of the American Academy. “Members can be inspired and engaged by connecting with one another and through Academy projects dedicated to the common good. The intellect, creativity, and commitment of the 2018 Class will enrich the work of the Academy and the world in which we live.”

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony in October in Cambridge, Mass.

A complete list of new members, as well as the Academy’s press release, can be found on the Academy’s website.