Boyce, Giacomini, Narlikar, and Powe Elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Four UCSF leaders are honored by one of the nation’s oldest societies.

Compilation of headshots of Thomas Boyce, Kathy Giacomini, Geeta Narlikar, and Neil Powe.
From left to right: W. Thomas Boyce, MD; Kathleen Giacomini, PhD; Geeta Narlikar, PhD; and Neil Powe, MD, MPH, MBA.

Four scientists and clinicians at UC San Francisco have been honored this year with election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAA&S), one of the nation’s oldest and most distinguished societies.

They are W. Thomas Boyce, MD; Kathleen Giacomini, PhD; Geeta Narlikar, PhD; and Neil Powe, MD, MPH, MBA.

Boyce is professor emeritus of pediatrics and psychiatry at UCSF, who developed a seminal theory of how poverty and other social stressors affect children differently depending on how sensitive they are. Known as the “orchid and the dandelion,” the theory proposes that the most sensitive children, the orchids, have harmful biological reactions to stress, while the least sensitive, the dandelions, can thrive in any environment.

Giacomini, the dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy and co-director of the UCSF-Stanford Center of Excellence in Regulatory Sciences and Innovation (CERSI), is a pioneer in the study of membrane transporters. Her work has demonstrated their importance to safe and effective drug development. Her leadership of the West Coast CERSI aims to advance the field of regulatory sciences and improve the development and evaluation of diagnostics, therapeutics, and medical devices.

Narlikar is chair of the UCSF Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and an expert in the fields of epigenetic regulation and genome organization. Her work has illuminated how diverse cells compartmentalize the genome to carry out their unique functions, opening the door to therapies for diseases arising from problems with genome organization.

Powe is the chief of the UCSF Department of Medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. In additional to cultivating young scientists who are addressing major problems in science, health, and health care delivery from his leadership in the public hospital, Powe studies critical issues at the intersection of medicine and public health. His research focuses on kidney disease epidemiology, disparities, and outcomes and treatment effectiveness.

AAA&S was founded in 1780 to help a young nation face its challenges through shared purpose, knowledge, and ideas. This year, 250 new members were elected to the Academy to recognize their excellence across disciplines and divides.