Newswise — April 29, 2020, NEW YORK CITY — Two researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s (MSK) Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI) have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Scott Keeney, PhD, a molecular biologist, and Christopher Lima, PhD, a structural biologist, join more than a dozen MSK investigators who are already NAS members. SKI is the research enterprise of MSK, the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center. Members are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is one of the highest honors bestowed upon scientists worldwide.
About the Researchers
Scott Keeney, PhD, a member of SKI’s Molecular Biology Program and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is recognized for his quest to understand the mechanism of meiotic recombination and to determine how this process is coordinated with other events of meiotic prophase. Much of his focus is on the protein Spo11, which generates the double-strand breaks (DSBs) that initiate recombination, and the interactions of the Spo11 protein complex with meiotic chromosomes. His studies of Spo11 also provided an entry point to research on the DSBs made by the enzyme topoisomerase II when it is inhibited by chemotherapeutic agents such as etoposide or doxorubicin.
Christopher Lima, PhD, Chair of SKI’s Structural Biology Program and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is recognized for his work on the structural, biochemical, and functional characterization of macromolecules involved in post-translational protein modification by ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like proteins such as SUMO, and the pathways that contribute to co- and post-transcriptional RNA maturation, processing, and decay. He employs biochemical approaches to reconstitute key complexes in these pathways and combines them with single particle cryo-EM and X-ray crystallography in conjunction with genetics and biochemistry to elucidate structure/activity relationships.
The NAS is a private, nonprofit organization of the country’s leading researchers. The NAS recognizes and promotes outstanding science through election to membership; publication in its journal, PNAS; and its awards, programs, and special activities. Through the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the NAS provides objective, science-based advice on critical issues affecting the nation.
This year, NAS elected 120 new members and 26 international members in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Those elected bring the total number of active members to 2,403 and the total number of international members to 501.
About Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK):
As the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, Memorial Sloan Kettering has devoted more than 135 years to exceptional patient care, influential educational programs, and innovative research to discover more effective strategies to prevent, control and, ultimately, cure cancer. MSK is home to more than 20,000 physicians, scientists, nurses, and staff united by a relentless dedication to conquering cancer. Today, we are one of 51 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, with state-of-the-art science and technology supporting groundbreaking clinical studies, personalized treatment, and compassionate care for our patients. We also train the next generation of clinical and scientific leaders in oncology through our continually evolving educational programs, here and around the world. Year after year, we are ranked among the top two cancer hospitals in the country, consistently recognized for our expertise in adult and pediatric oncology specialties. www.mskcc.org.