DALLAS, April 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) has elected Dr. David W. Russell of UT Southwestern Medical Center to membership. With his election, the medical center now has 15 faculty members currently serving in the esteemed organization.
"I am most honored. The AAAS is an organization that recognizes philosophers and artists and business leaders. Being selected says that your work is recognized by people who have made contributions in multiple fields, including science," said Dr. Russell, professor of molecular genetics, vice provost and dean for basic research at UT Southwestern.
Dr. Russell's laboratory studies how the body metabolizes cholesterol. He and his colleagues have isolated dozens of genes that encode enzymes involved in this process and they are credited with identifying the molecular basis of half a dozen human genetic diseases characterized by abnormal cholesterol metabolism. Co-author of the top-selling cloning publication Molecular Cloning, Dr. Russell – elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2006 – also teaches introductory and advanced courses in biochemistry and molecular biology to medical and graduate students.
The 212 new AAAS members elected today include Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, chancellor of The UT System and graduate of UT Southwestern medical school; jazz icon Dave Brubeck; documentary filmmaker Ken Burns; Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of books about Thomas Jefferson; astronomer Paul Butler; and singer-songwriter Paul Simon.
"Research is not a solo endeavor but a continuum. Dr. Russell's work has advanced our understanding of cholesterol metabolism and occurred in a department known for its preeminent work in laying the groundwork for innovative treatment of elevated cholesterol, containing as it does two Nobel laureates and, now, four members of the AAAS," said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern.
Since its founding in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots, the Academy has elected leading "thinkers and doers" from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th century, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th century. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.
Other UT Southwestern faculty who are members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the years they were elected are:
Dr. Donald Seldin (1974), Dr. Michael Brown (1981), Dr. Joseph Goldstein (1981), Dr. Jean Wilson (1982), Dr. Alfred Gilman (1988), Dr. Daniel Foster (1992), Dr. Steven McKnight (1992), Dr. Jonathan Uhr (1993), Dr. Roger Unger (1994), Dr. Eric Olson (1998), Dr. Joseph S. Takahashi (2000), Dr. Ellen Vitetta (2003), Dr. Helen Hobbs (2006) and Dr. Luis Parada (2007).
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SOURCE UT Southwestern Medical Center