by Robert Sanders
Six faculty have been elected fellows of the National Academy of Sciences. They are among 60 new members and 15 foreign associates honored for distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
Election is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer.
Berkeley's new members follow.
Bob B. Buchanan, professor of plant biology in the College of Natural Resources, is president-elect of the American Society of Plant Physiologists. He has done important work on the enzymes involved in seed germination. This work led to the discovery several years ago of an enzyme system important in the formation of dough from flour, manipulation of which could lead to improved strength and elasticity in dough.
David Chandler, professor of chemistry, is a theoretical chemist who models interactions among atoms in liquids and how they fit together. These studies can help scientists understand how chemical reactions take place in liquids, such as how polymers form or how substances dissolve.
Corey S. Goodman, professor of molecular and cell biology and an investigator in Berkeley's Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is widely recognized for his molecular and cellular studies of early nervous system development in fruitflies. He developed new ways to study how the nervous system becomes properly "wired" during early stages of development. His long-range goal is to understand how embryonic nerve cells identify the pathway they should take and the targets with which they should form connections.
Clayton H. Heathcock, professor of chemistry, is an organic chemist with a passion for constructing elaborate organic molecules, often involving a large number of chemical steps. These syntheses pave the way to creating similar molecules that may have applications in industry or medicine. Several years ago he received an award for synthesizing a complex molecule important in the formation of cholesterol, and thus possibly of use in preventing atherosclerosis.
Carla J. Shatz, professor of molecular and cell biology and an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute here, traces nerve connections between the eye and the brain to discover how the brain gets wired up properly during development. Such studies are important to understanding underlying causes of neurological birth defects such as cerebral palsy and reading disabilities such as dyslexia. What she has found, in essence, is that cells in the eye make spontaneous and repeated phone calls to brain cells to verify they are connected to the right ones. If they don't get verification they break the connection.
Yuen Ron Shen, professor of physics and a researcher in the Materials Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, developed a novel laser technique that allows him to study reactions occurring at the interface between two substances, such as liquid and air. This technique, which uses fast laser pulses, has already produced nanosecond snapshots of the arrangement of water molecules at the surface of a drop.
With today's elections, Berkeley has 116 faculty who are NAS members, plus two foreign associates. The total number of active members is 1,733. Six other UC faculty also were elected: two from UCSF, two from UCLA and one each from Riverside and Irvine.