Six members of the Northwestern University faculty have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies.
Linda Broadbelt, Joseph Hupp, Vicky Kalogera, Thomas McDade, Dr. Elizabeth McNally and Catherine Woolley are among this year’s class of 252 artists, scholars, scientists and leaders in the public, nonprofit and private sectors.
The Academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin and others who believed the new republic should honor exceptionally accomplished individuals and engage them in advancing the public good. The Academy’s dual mission remains essentially the same 240 years later with honorees from increasingly diverse fields and with the work now focused on the arts and humanities, democracy and justice, education, global affairs and science.
Northwestern’s newest members are:
Broadbelt, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, is internationally recognized for contributions in complex kinetics modeling of hydrocarbon chemistry, particularly for the development of automated mechanism generation techniques and methods for specification of rate coefficients. She applies her computational expertise to diverse fields, including catalysis, degradation kinetics and biological pathway identification. Much of Broadbelt’s work has been adopted by industry.
Hupp and his research group make and study molecular materials and supramolecular assemblies. Some are designed to better understand fundamental aspects of molecular recognition, directed assembly, light harvesting and directional energy transport, and electron transfer reactivity. Others are designed to exploit these phenomena to solve problems involving solar energy conversion, chemical fuel storage and release, chemical sensing, molecular transport and chemical separations, or selective catalysis.
Kalogera is the Daniel I. Linzer Distinguished University Professor of Physics and Astronomy in Weinberg and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA).
A leading astrophysicist for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration, Kalogera was a key member of the international team that first detected gravitational waves in 2015 from the collision of two black holes. She also contributed to groundbreaking work leading to predictions and eventual detection of the collision of two neutron stars, detected using both gravitational waves and light. Through her research, Kalogera addresses questions about the origins of black holes and neutron stars, and employs methods from computer science, statistics and applied mathematics. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, she recently was named a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
McDade is the Carlos Montezuma Professor of Anthropology at Weinberg College, director of the Laboratory for Human Biology Research and Director of Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern.
A biological anthropologist, McDade’s work is primarily concerned with the dynamic interrelationships among society, biology and health over the life-course, with an emphasis on long-term effects of early environments, and the integration of biological measures into population-based research. In June 2020, he launched a large community-based study called SCAN: Screening for Coronavirus Antibodies in Neighborhoods. SCAN aims to track the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and to identify the circumstances and behaviors associated with exposure and severity of infection. Last summer, a team of Northwestern scientists, including McDade, received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to generate scientific insights into the determinants of SARS-CoV-2 exposure with a minimally invasive approach to community-based serological testing.
Dr. Elizabeth McNally
McNally is the Elizabeth J. Ward Professor of Genetic Medicine and director of the Center for Genetic Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
A physician-scientist, McNally has made contributions to genome analysis techniques such as quantitative trait mapping that have bettered understanding of rare genetic variation, allowing identification of genes that modify the outcomes of genetic diseases. She is focused on improving bench-to-bedside transition of genetic discoveries. McNally is a co-investigator on SCAN: Screening for Coronavirus Antibodies in Neighborhoods,which is using a novel at-home test to determine individuals’ prior exposure to the coronavirus. She is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
Woolley is the William Deering Chair in Biological Sciences in the department of neurobiology and associate dean for research at Weinberg. She also holds a secondary appointment as professor of neurology at Feinberg.
Woolley is widely known for her research on intrinsic biological differences between males and females in the molecular pathways that regulate synaptic communication in the brain. Her work has helped to explain how estrogens enhance learning and memory consolidation. Woolley’s research has provided a scientific basis to predict that male and female brains may respond differently to drugs targeting certain pathways and has helped to develop a deeper understanding of many neurological diseases. Woolley is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.
“We are honoring the excellence of these individuals, celebrating what they have achieved so far, and imagining what they will continue to accomplish,” said David Oxtoby, president of the American Academy. “The past year has been replete with evidence of how things can get worse; this is an opportunity to illuminate the importance of art, ideas, knowledge and leadership that can make a better world.”
The 2021 class includes CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, civil rights activist and math literacy pioneer Robert Moses, NASA atmospheric scientist Anne Thompson and Oprah Winfrey.
The new members join the company of Academy members elected before them, including Benjamin Franklin (elected 1781) and Alexander Hamilton (1791) in the 18th century; Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Maria Mitchell (1848) and Charles Darwin (1874) in the 19th; Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Milton Friedman (1959) and Martin Luther King Jr. (1966) in the 20th, and more recently Antonin Scalia (2003), John Lithgow (2010) and Joan Baez (2020).