Two LAS professors elected to National Academy of Sciences

Chemists Ralph Nuzzo and Wilfred van der Donk receive one of the highest honors in science
Ralph Nuzzo and Wilfred van der Donk
Ralph Nuzzo (left) and Wilfred van der Donk.

Two professors in the College of LAS have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest professional honors a scientist can receive.

Chemistry professors Ralph Nuzzo and Wilfred van der Donk are among 120 newly elected U.S. members and 30 international members in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Nuzzo is the G.L. Clark Professor of Analytical Chemistry and professor of chemistry. He also is affiliated with materials science and engineering, the Materials Research Lab, and the Holonyak Micro and Nanotechnology Lab at Illinois. His research focuses on developing novel methods of micro and nanoscale fabrication and molecular patterning to provide new capabilities for technology in areas as diverse as lightweight, flexible, photovoltaic energy systems; advanced lighting; optics; batteries, fuel cells, and other electrochemical energy systems; actuators; chemical sensors; and bioanalytical arrays and scaffolds.

Nuzzo is an affiliated faculty member at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Chemical Society, the World Innovation Foundation, and the American Vacuum Society. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award, the ACS Arthur Adamson Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Surface Chemistry, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers George E. Smith Award.

van der Donk is the Richard E. Heckert Endowed Chair in Chemistry and director of graduate studies in chemistry at Illinois. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator and also is affiliated with the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.  His research focuses on using a variety of methods with respect to natural products: genome mining strategies to discover new products;  microbiology and genomic tools to determine their mode of action; chemical biology techniques to study their biosynthesis; and synthetic chemistry to improve their therapeutic properties.

van der Donk is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and the American Academy of Microbiology. Among his awards are the American Peptide Society Vincent du Vigneaud Award, the Repligen Award, the National Institutes of Health MERIT Award, the Royal Society of Chemistry Bioorganic Award, and the Protein Society Emil Thomas Kaiser Award.

Physics professor Nadya Mason, in the Grainger College of Engineering at U of I, was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Mason is the Rosalyn Sussman Yalow Professor in Physics at Illinois and the founding director of the Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

Of the new members, 59 of whom are women, the most elected in a single year. 

“The historic number of women elected this year reflects the critical contributions that they are making in many fields of science, as well as a concerted effort by our academy to recognize those contributions and the essential value of increasing diversity in our ranks,” said National Academy of Sciences President Marcia McNutt. “I am pleased to welcome all of our new members, and I look forward to engaging with them in the work of the National Academies.”

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution established in 1863 under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln. 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.


News Source

Lois Yoksoulian, Illinois News Bureau