Newswise — The U.S. National Academy of Sciences announced today the membership election of Christopher K. Glass, MD, PhD, professor in the Departments of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Members are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. National Academy of Sciences membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.

“We’re extremely proud of Chris and all he has accomplished here,” said David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor of UC San Diego Health Sciences and dean of UC San Diego School of Medicine. “He has mentored countless students and his work on inflammation will no doubt re-write textbooks. I am confident Chris will continue to make incredible contributions to his field and the broader scientific community.”

Glass is among 84 new U.S. members and 21 international members announced today, bringing the total active membership in the National Academy of Sciences to 2,765 worldwide. Sixty UC San Diego faculty members, current and emeritus, are now members of the academy.

“I am both honored and humbled to be included in such an inspiring and accomplished group of individuals,” Glass said. “I have been fortunate to have had the support of the UC San Diego community over my entire scientific career and am thrilled to represent us as a new member of the National Academy of Sciences.”

Glass’ research is focused on how genes are turned on and off in macrophages, a type of immune cell, and how that influences macrophage development and function. His lab works to understand how the normally beneficial actions of the macrophage are subverted in inflammatory diseases, such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and neurodegenerative disease. Their studies have uncovered basic mechanisms that regulate both protective and disease-causing functions of macrophages found in atherosclerotic lesions, fat tissue and the brain.

In addition, Glass’ team recently discovered how small genetic differences in regions of the genome that do not code for proteins can nonetheless influence the extent to which genes are turned on or off among different individuals and thereby influence risk of disease. These findings have implications for improved prediction, diagnosis and treatment of a broad spectrum of human diseases.

Glass earned his bachelor’s degree in biophysics at University of California, Berkeley. He earned both his medical degree and PhD in biology at UC San Diego. Glass interned and completed residency training in internal medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, followed by a fellowship in endocrinology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He joined the UC San Diego School of Medicine faculty in 1989.

Glass serves as associate director of the Medical Scientist (MD/PhD) Training Program at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Heart Association and member of the Endocrine Society. Glass was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014 and the American Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine) in 2015.

Full list of National Academy of Sciences members

UC San Diego’s members