Immunologist and UCSF Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) – one of the highest honors bestowed on American scientists.

Bluestone was the founding director of the UCSF Diabetes Center, which he established in 2000 to translate basic research on type 1 and type 2 diabetes into patient therapies. His NAS election increases the total number of past and present UCSF members of the academy to 62.

With more than 500 published papers, Bluestone has helped to advance understanding of the basic processes that control T-cell activation and immune tolerance in autoimmunity, organ transplantation and cancer. His research has informed the development of multiple immunotherapies, including the recently FDA-approved, anti-human CD3 antibody teplizumab for type 1 diabetes; the first FDA-approved drug targeting T-cell co-stimulation to treat autoimmune disease and organ transplantation; and the first CTLA-4 antagonist drugs approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

“Jeff is an excellent scientist who prioritizes taking fundamental T-cell biology all the way to the clinic, and that makes him quite special,” said Mark Anderson, MD, PhD, Robert and Michelle M. Friend Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research and director of the UCSF Diabetes Center. “This latest honor is a testament to the profound impact he has had on the field of immunology and diabetes, including being a champion for the first immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes, teplizumab.”

Bluestone has received numerous accolades for his work, including election to the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Science; and receipt of the Gerold & Kayla Grodsky Distinguished Basic Scientist Award, the Mary Tyler Moore & Robert Levine Excellence in Clinical Research Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Steinman Award for Human Immunology Research from the American Association of Immunologists. He served as UCSF’s executive vice chancellor and provost from 2010-2015 and was the A.W. Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professor of Metabolism and Endocrinology until his retirement in 2022.

An academic leader on a national and international scale, Bluestone was the founding director of the Immune Tolerance Network – the largest NIH-funded multicenter clinical immunology research program, testing novel immunotherapies in transplantation, autoimmunity, and asthma/allergy. He was also the founding director and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and has trained more than 100 students, post-docs and fellows.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit scholarly society established by a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and – with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine – provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

This year’s new members bring the total number of active members to 2,565. New members will be formally inducted into the Academy at the 2024 NAS Annual Meeting. More details about the 2023 class of National Academy Members can be found on the Academy’s website.