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NCBI Director Dr. David J. Lipman Named Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2008 Class of Fellows

Newly Elected Members Include Scholars, Scientists, Artists, Civic, Corporate and Philanthropic Leaders

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy research centers, yesterday announced the election of a new class of members. Drawn from the sciences, the arts and humanities, business, public affairs, and the nonprofit sector, the 190 new Fellows and 22 Foreign Honorary Members are leaders in their fields and include Nobel laureates and recipients of Pulitzer and Pritzker prizes, Academy and Grammy awards, and Kennedy Center Honors. Among those elected are David J. Lipman, MD, Director of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

A component of the National Library of Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, NCBI is a national and international resource for molecular biology information. It creates public databases, conducts research in computational biology, develops software tools for analyzing genome data, and disseminates biomedical information --all for the better understanding of molecular processes affecting human health and disease. Lipman has led NCBI since its creation in 1988.

Dr. Lipman holds a BA degree with honors from Brown University and earned his MD from the University of New York at Buffalo. Among many other awards, he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2005.

The 212 scholars, scientists, artists, civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders come from 20 states and 15 countries, and range in age from 37 to 86. Represented among this year's newly elected members are more than 50 universities and more than a dozen corporations, as well as museums, national laboratories and private research institutes, media outlets and foundations.

This year's new Fellows include U.S. Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice John Paul Stevens; mathematician and philanthropist James H. Simons; soprano Dawn Upshaw; winners of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, Linda Buck, a 2004 laureate who discovered a molecular understanding of the sense of smell, and molecular biologist Craig Mello, a 2006 recipient for the discovery of RNA interference; computer company founders Michael Dell (Dell Computer), and Charles M. Geschke and John E. Warnock (Adobe Systems, Inc.); two-time cabinet secretary and former White House Chief of Staff James A. Baker III; astronomer Adam Riess, who contributed to the discovery of dark energy in the universe; electrical engineer Henry Smith, the father of x-ray lithography; Academy Award-winning film makers Ethan and Joel Cohen and Milos Forman; Emory University Provost and historian Earl Lewis; Darwin biographer Janet Browne; Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Edwards P. Jones; and blues guitarist B.B. King.

Also among this year's newly-elected Fellows are corporate CEOs Margaret Whitman (eBay) and Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo); University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Richard Herman; research center directors Piermaria Oddone (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory), Peter S. Kim (Merck Research Laboratories), and Bruce Stillman (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory); seismologist Paul G. Richards, who applies his work to monitoring underground nuclear test explosions; tropical agriculture specialist Pedro A. Sanchez; AIDS researcher Judith Lieberman; Larry V. Hedges, founder of the meta-analysis method of social research; Margaret Jane Radin, specialist in the jurisprudence of cyberspace; architect Elizabeth Diller; installation artist David Hammons; Baltimore Symphony Orchestra principal conductor, Marin Alsop; and composer Yehudi Wyner.

Foreign Honorary Members in this year's class come from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Canada, Mexico and Israel and include former Chief Justice of South Africa Arthur Chaskalson; Nobel Prize-winning Israeli biologist Aaron Ciechanover; British climate change expert John H. Lawton; former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge G. Castañeda; Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk; and Spanish film director, producer and screenwriter Pedro Almodóvar.

"The Academy honors excellence by electing to membership remarkable men and women who have made preeminent contributions to their fields, and to the world," said Academy President Emilio Bizzi. "We are pleased to welcome into the Academy these new members to help advance our founders' goal of 'cherishing knowledge and shaping the future.'"

An independent policy research center, the Academy undertakes studies of complex and emerging problems. Its diverse membership of scholars and practitioners from many disciplines and professions gives the Academy a unique capacity to conduct a wide range of interdisciplinary, long-term policy research. Current studies focus on science, technology and global security; social policy and American institutions; the humanities and culture; and education.

"For 228 years, the Academy has served the public good by convening leading thinkers and doers from diverse perspectives to examine - and provide practical policy solutions to -- the pressing issues of the day," added Chief Executive Officer and William T. Golden Chair Leslie Berlowitz. "I am confident that this distinguished class of new members will continue that tradition."

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 11, at the Academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots, the Academy has elected as members the finest minds and most influential leaders from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the twentieth. The current membership includes some 200 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

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