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UAlbany's Joachim Frank, John W. Saunders Jr. Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

Joachim Frank

Joachim Frank

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 2, 2006) -- Joachim Frank, professor of Biomedical Sciences in the University at Albany's School of Public Health, was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences on April 25. On April 24, Frank was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, another honor of national significance.

Elected to the NAS with Frank was John W. Saunders Jr., professor emeritus, Department of Biological Sciences, a faculty member at UAlbany from 1967 to 1985.

The two UAlbany professors are among 72 new members and 18 foreign associates elected to the NAS in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

UAlbany Provost Susan Herbst said, "Membership in the National Academy of Sciences is one of the highest honors in the world for scholars in science and engineering. Our Academy members distinguish the University at Albany as one of the truly great research universities, and we are proud to have these researchers here, as exemplars of truly magnificent achievement in the sciences."

Frank, an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the Wadsworth Center in Albany and a lab chief of the Laboratory for Computational Biology and Molecular Imaging, has been a member of the faculty of the School of Public Health since its inception in 1986. He has been a distinguished scientist at the Wadsworth Center for more than 30 years. His pivotal role in the development of the field of molecular electron microscopy culminated in the publication of his papers on the structure of the ribosome and on the protein elongation cycle in the prestigious Nature, Science and Cell. Frank was honored with the University's Excellence in Research award in 2001.

Saunders is best known for his work in developmental biology and insights into cell death in development.

"The body of his published work remains central to the understanding of limb development and is a major reason for the premiere place that the developmental biology of limbs holds in our research and teaching today," wrote John F. Fallon about Saunders in an article in the International Journal of Developmental Biology in 2002.

Frank is in the 2006 Class of Fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences that includes actor Alan Alda and former President Bill Clinton. UAlbany English faculty member and Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy, founder of the New York State Writers Institute, was named to the Academy in 2002.

Frank and Saunders join Marlene Belfort of UAlbany, also a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Belfort is a Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Sciences in the School of Public Health and a research scientist and director of the Division of Genetic Disorders at Wadsworth Center.

Herbst said, "Moving forward, we shall have many other faculty join professors Belfort, Frank, and Saunders as members of the most important scientific leadership bodies."


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