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Bretscher elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Professor of cell biology Anthony P. Bretscher has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

One of seven newly elected members in cellular and developmental biology, microbiology and immunology, Bretscher joined the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics in 1981.

He leads the Bretscher Lab in the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology, studying how microfilaments contribute to the functional organization of eukaryotic cells. He is a member of the graduate fields of biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, and genetics and development. His research areas of expertise also include cell polarity, cell signaling and membrane trafficking.

Bretscher trained as a physicist at the University of Cambridge, England (B.A. ’71, M.A. ’74) and earned a Ph.D. in genetics in 1974 from the University of Leeds, England, with his dissertation on gene regulation in E. coli. He came to Cornell from the faculty of Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.

As a postdoctoral researcher, Bretscher was an EMBO Fellow in biochemistry at Stanford University and a Max Planck Society Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany, beginning his studies in cell biology with Klaus Weber.

He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Cell Biology and Journal of Cell Science, and has served on the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Biology of the Cell.

The academy elected 213 individuals in a wide range of disciplines and professions to its 2018 class of fellows, announced April 18. The induction ceremony for newly elected members from the United States and international honorary members is Oct. 6 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Newly elected fellows also include Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States; actor Tom Hanks; Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden; jazz composer Carla Bley and the CEOs of Netflix and Lockheed Martin.

Academy projects and publications generate ideas and recommendations to advance the public good in the arts, science, education, citizenship, government, the humanities, international relations, energy and other areas.

Catherine Lord, professor of psychology in pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, was also elected.

A longer version of this story appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.