Newswise — (Memphis, Tenn. – May 1, 2014) Brenda Schulman, Ph.D., of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Membership in the academy is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors a scientist can receive.
Schulman, a structural biologist, is among 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 15 countries selected to join the academy this year. The NAS is a private, nonprofit society of distinguished scholars charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership in the NAS for outstanding contributions to research.
“Dr. Schulman continues to blaze new paths using structural biology to advance global scientific understanding of how key cell processes are regulated,” said Dr. William E. Evans, St. Jude director and CEO. “Her election to the National Academy of Sciences is a richly deserved honor for her life’s work as well as for St. Jude. We are pleased, but not surprised that her work has attracted this recognition.”
Schulman is a co-director of the St. Jude Cancer Genetics, Biochemistry and Cell Biology Program. She is also a faculty member in the departments of Structural Biology and Tumor Cell Biology. Schulman’s work centers on a family of enzymes that regulate signals known as ubiquitin-like proteins, which in turn help regulate cell division. Cancers are among the diseases that arise when this process is disrupted. Studies by Schulman's laboratory have been among those that have led the way worldwide in understanding the structure and regulation of and by ubiquitin-like proteins. She joined St. Jude in 2001.
Among her many recognitions, Schulman is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, has been named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, earned a Beckman Young Investigator Award and received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from former President George W. Bush. She was also a joint winner of The Protein Society’s Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award in 2011. Most recently Schulman was elected as a member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The NAS, established in 1863, recognizes achievement in science by election to membership and has more than 2,200 members and 440 foreign associates. Nearly 200 of its living members have won Nobel Prizes.
Other St. Jude researchers elected to the academy include Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty, Ph.D., renowned virologist Robert Webster, Ph.D., and esteemed tumor cell biologist Charles Sherr, M.D., Ph.D. Several St. Jude scientists have also been elected to the Institute of Medicine, a prestigious branch of the NAS. They include Evans, Sherr, James Downing, M.D., Mary Relling, Pharm.D., and Arthur Nienhuis, M.D.