National Academy of Sciences

Alfred Newton Richards, elected 1927

Alfred Newton Richards

Alfred Newton Richards, PhD, proved kidneys filter blood by inventing glomerular micropuncture, first employed inulin to study glomerular filtration rate, and determined that renal tubules secreted or reabsorbed various substances in processing final urine. Receiving an undergraduate degree from Yale in 1897 and his PhD in physical chemistry from Columbia University in 1901, he subsequently joined the faculty at Columbia and received a scholarship from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research where he fell under the influence of Christian Herter. Richards helped found the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 1904, eventually rising to editor, and held a life-long interest in the laboratory effects of drugs on the kidney.

In 1908, he was appointed professor of pharmacology at Northwestern University Medical School and later was appointed chair of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to training a legion of distinguished investigators, Richards was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1927, received the Lasker Award in 1946, and and later served as president of the National Academy of Sciences in 1947. President Roosevelt appointed him to head the Committee on Medical Research during the Second World War where he put penicillin in production as a therapeutic agent. From 1939 to 1948, Richards served as Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania.


Hans Popper, elected 1976

Hans Popper

Hans Popper, MD, PhD, is widely regarded as the father of hepatology. A medical graduate of the University of Vienna and pre-war immigrant from Austria, Popper settled in Chicago, received his PhD in pathology in 1944 from the University of Illinois, and worked as a physician-scientist at the Cook County Hospital, where he rose to become director of the Hektoen Institute of Medical Research. Publishing more than 800 papers with particular focus on the liver in health and disease, he became a founding member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, now with more than 2,000 members. Returning from service following World War II, Popper was appointed associate professor of pathology in 1949 at Northwestern University Medical School, and promoted to professor in 1956. In 1957, Popper became chairman of pathology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and helped form the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he later served as dean and president. In 1967 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and, in 1976, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.


Laszlo Lorand, elected 1987

Laszlo Lorand

Laszlo Lorand, PhD, professor emeritus in Cell and Molecular Biology, was the first director of a National Institutes of Health-funded Biochemistry Training Program and became a founding member of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University Medical School. He served from 1990 to 1991 as deputy director for Basic Sciences of the Cancer Center. In 1993, he transferred to Feinberg as a research professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology and was a distinguished investigator of the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute.

He is editor and co-editor of several books, and author and co-author of more than 200 scientific publications. His research focused on cell migration and wound healing. With his collaborators, he made the fundamental discoveries that laid the foundation for the molecular understanding of the clotting of fibrinogen in blood.  This led to the reconstruction of the physiological process as well as to the diagnosis of unusual bleeding disorders. His work served as a foundation for studying protein cross-linking in aging cells.


Edwin Taylor, elected 2001

Edwin Taylor

Edwin Taylor, PhD, adjunct professor in Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, studied the molecular mechanisms for the movements of cells and made significant contributions to the biochemistry of muscle contraction and cytoskeletal research. He discovered several molecular cell motors, some of which assist in the motility of certain white blood cells. Taylor also showed how actin and myosin induce movement in non-muscle cells. His investigations provided the first kinetic model describing how molecular motors convert chemical energy into mechanical force.

Taylor joined Northwestern faculty in 1999 as a research professor in cell and molecular biology. He was the recipient of the E.B. Wilson Medal, the highest honor awarded by the American Society for Cell Biology. He is also a member of the Royal Society of London and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Patricia Spear, elected 2002

Patricia Spear

Patricia Spear, PhD,  professor emeritus in Microbiology-Immunology, identified the mechanisms of the herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 to enter cells, in addition to characterizing cell surface carbohydrates and proteins required for penetration of human cells and viral spread by cell-cell fusion.  She studied cell tropism and pathogenesis as determined by differential expression of multiple viral receptors in different cell types and the ability of viral strains to use different receptors for entry.

Spear joined the faculty of Northwestern University Medical School in 1987 as the Guy and Anne Youmans Professor and Chair of Microbiology-Immunology.


Robert Lamb, elected 2003

Robert Lamb

Robert Lamb, PhD, is the John Evans Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, a professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He studies the replication and pathogenesis of influenza virus and paramyxoviruses, specifically virus-mediated membrane fusion, the action of protein-selective ion channels, enveloped virus assembly, and how these viruses defeat innate immunity.

He is past president of the American Society for Virology and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He joined Northwestern in 1983.


Gary Borisy, elected 2009

Gary Borisy

Gary Borisy, PhD, adjunct professor in Cell and Molecular Biology, was associate vice president for research and the Leslie B. Arey Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He joined Northwestern in 2000. In 1965, Borisy discovered the protein tubulin, which comprises a key part of the cell's cytoskeleton. He provided important insights into chromosome movement and the role of the protein actin, a major component of cell motility; and the dynamics of microtubules, filaments that help direct cell division.

Borisy is the author of more than 200 papers, the editor of two books, and has received numerous professional honors, including a National Institutes of Health Merit award, the Carl Zeiss award from the German Society for Cell Biology, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Chicago. Borisy currently is president and director of the Marine Biological Laboratory.


Chad Mirkin, elected 2010

Chad Mirkin

Chad Mirkin, PhD, director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry, and professor of Medicine-Infectious Diseases, came to Northwestern University in 1991 as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry.

A world renowned nanoscience expert, he is known for the development of nanoparticle-based biodetection schemes, the invention of Dip-Pen Nanolithography, and contributions to supramolecular chemistry, nanoelectronics, and nanooptics. He is the author of more than 440 manuscripts and over 400 patents and applications, and the founder of three companies, Nanosphere, NanoInk, and Aurasense, which are commercializing nanotechnology applications in the life science and semiconductor industries. He is a member of President Obama's Council of Advisors for Science and Technology.

He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2009 for the development of DNA programmable inorganic materials and dip pen nanolithography. He was elected in 2010 to the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.