Portnoy, expert on microbial pathogenesis, to join National Academy of Sciences

Daniel A. Portnoy, professor of molecular and cell biology and of public health, has been named to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of his excellence in original scientific research. Membership in NAS is among the highest honors that can be accorded an American scientist or engineer. The academy is charged with providing the United States with independent, objective advice on science and technology.

Portnoy is one of the world’s leading researchers in understanding the spread of intracellular bacterial pathogens. His laboratory studies the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes as a model intracellular pathogen for discovering the basic mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis and how host cells resist. The Portnoy lab was instrumental in the development of Listeria monocytogenes as a vector for cancer vaccines.

Two other Berkeley faculty members were also appointed to NAS this year: James M. Berger, professor of molecular and cell biology, and James A. Sethian, professor of mathematics. The new members, who are among 84 new members and 21 new foreign associates announced on Tuesday, April 30, bring the number of UC Berkeley faculty elected to the academy to 130.

The new members will be inducted into the academy next April during its 149th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

There are currently 2,179 active NAS members. The academy is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furthering science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Established in 1863, it has served to “investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art” whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government.