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Five UCSF Scientists Named to Institute of Medicine

October 13, 2009
News Office: Kate Schoen (415) 502-6397

Five UCSF faculty scientists are among the 65 newly elected members to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), part of the National Academy of Sciences.

Election to IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. The new members were announced Oct. 12, 2009 at the IOM annual meeting.

The new UCSF members are:

  • Dr. Deborah Grady, professor of medicine and associate dean for clinical and translational research; and director, UCSF Women's Health Clinical Research Center


  • Lawrence W. Green, professor, UCSF Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics; and co-leader, Society, Diversity & Disparities Program, UCSF School of Medicine and UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center


  • Dr. Michael R. Harrison, professor emeritus of clinical surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences; and director emeritus, Fetal Treatment Center, UCSF Children's Hospital


  • Dr. Sam Hawgood, dean and vice chancellor for medical affairs, UCSF School of Medicine


  • Dr. Roger Nicoll, professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology and physiology

The election brings to 71 the number of UCSF faculty who are members of the prestigious Institute. Election to the Institute recognizes those who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health.

Grady — As co-director of the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Grady is focused on transforming clinical and translational research to ensure that the best health solutions get to patients and the community as quickly as possible. She also is an international expert on menopause and the risks and benefits of postmenopausal hormone therapy. With colleagues at UCSF, she designed and conducted the Heart and Estrogen/progestin Replacement Study (HERS), a clinical trial of 2800 women with known coronary disease. The main results of this study showed no reduction in risk of heart attack or stroke among women who took hormones for four years. She currently is working with colleagues to help understand the cause of menopausal symptoms and to develop new treatments.

Green — Green joined the UCSF faculty in 2005 and specializes in population sciences research in cancer and other chronic diseases. Green's research at UCSF includes reducing disparities in cancer. In a current project, he is looking at screening for colorectal cancer in the context of flu vaccine clinics. He has had an extensive career in both academia and international public health, focusing on translational research and health policy. As director of the Office of Health Promotion in the Carter Administration, he participated in the early development of the Healthy People Initiative, which since 1979 has continued to contribute to programs in health promotion and disease prevention. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he led international programs in tobacco control and national programs in community-based participatory research.

Harrison — As founding director of UCSF's Fetal Treatment Center, Harrison is internationally renowned for his expertise and innovation in pediatric and fetal surgery and is author of more than 400 peer-reviewed articles and several textbooks. Widely regarded as the "father of fetal surgery," Harrison established the developmental pathophysiology of correctable birth defects in animal models, developed and tested techniques for fetal intervention, performed the first successful human fetal surgery for congenital diaphragmatic hernia and later for a number of other fetal anomalies, and initiated the first NIH-sponsored clinical trials for fetal surgery. Harrison's current research focuses on pediatric orphan device development, for which he recently received one of three stimulus grants awarded by the FDA to fund a pediatric device consortium at UCSF.

Hawgood — Hawgood is the newly appointed dean of the UCSF School of Medicine. He previously served as interim dean and led the school in advancing a campuswide strategic plan that included expanding translational research, fostering patient-centered care, and furthering global health. He has been actively involved in planning the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, scheduled to open in 2014 with specialty hospitals for children, women and cancer patients. Hawgood also directs a major NIH grant that supports a range of UCSF projects that seek a new basic understanding of lung biology and pulmonary diseases. He is past president of the Society for Pediatric Research and a past trustee of the International Pediatric Research Foundation.

Nicoll — Nicoll is renowned for his pioneering discoveries about the way in which the brain learns and remembers. Over several decades he has shown that learning and memory occur when neural connections between nerve cells in the brain are strengthened. This capacity to strengthen a connection, known as synaptic plasticity, or long-term potentiation, is considered the linchpin for processing, storing and recalling all information in the brain. Nicoll's research focuses on the brain's hippocampus, which is severely damaged in Alzheimer's disease. Understanding the chemistry of thought could enhance drug design for Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases of the brain. He is a scientific member of the Wheeler Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction at UCSF.

The IOM total active membership is now 1,610. Five individuals also were elected as foreign associates, bringing the total members in that category to 93. With another 75 members holding emeritus status, IOM's total membership is now 1,778.

Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute is recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues. With their election, members make a commitment to volunteer their service as members of IOM study committees, boards and other activities.

Current active members elect new members through a highly selective process in which candidates are nominated for their professional achievement and commitment to service. The Institute's charter stipulates that at least one-quarter of the membership is selected from outside the health professions, from such fields as the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; law; engineering; and the humanities.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.