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NIDCD Grantees Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

May 16, 2005

NIDCD grantees Mary-Claire King, Ph.D. and Gene E. Robinson, Ph.D., are among 72 new members recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). NAS is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to furthering science and technology and their use for the general welfare. Election to the NAS is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a scientist or engineer.

An expert and pioneer in the genetics of breast and ovarian cancers, Dr. King is the American Cancer Society professor in the Department of Medical Genetics and Genome Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle. In collaboration with Dr. Karen Avraham, Tel Aviv University, and Dr. Moien Kanaan, Bethlehem University, Israel, Dr. King is studying the genetics of hearing loss in Middle Eastern families. Identifying and characterizing the genes responsible for inherited hearing loss contributes to an understanding of hearing loss in general. The collaborative team studies the expression of the identified genes in mice to better understand deafness in humans.

Dr. King received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her first grant with the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders was awarded in 1991. She is also supported by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

A leading authority on the genetics of the honeybee, Dr. Robinson is the G. William Arends chair and director of the neuroscience program in the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Robinson uses the honeybee as a model to study the role of chemical communication in shaping the insect’s social, foraging, and reproductive behavior. His research on how pheromones regulate gene expression in the honeybee brain will help advance our understanding of how these compounds influence neural and behavioral changes that occur over time in mammals.

Dr. Robinson received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1986. His first grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders was awarded in 1996. In addition to the pheromone study, he is also receiving support from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Institute on Aging.

There are approximately 2000 members and 350 foreign associates of the NAS.