New gene-editing system enables large-scale studies of gene function.
Eric Lander, professor of biology and director of the Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research, has been elected as one of 55 new members of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a unit of the National Academy of Sciences.
Members are elected for their contribution to health and medicine and for their interest, concern and involvement with issues that affect the health of the public. Professor Lander and 54 other scientists elected this year join the ranks of 546 IOM members, including several from MIT. Elected in the last three years are Professors Phillip Sharp and Mario Molina (both Nobel Prize winners), Gerald R. Fink (director of the Whitehead Institute), David E. Housman, Richard O. Hynes (director of the center for Cancer Research) and Steven R. Tannenbaum (co-director of the Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health). The IOM also has more than 700 senior and foreign associates.
"The Whitehead Institute is very pleased that Eric has been elected to the IOM," Professor Fink said. "Eric has made tremendous contributions to the Human Genome Project, which will have a great impact on the future of medicine and public health. Today, we stand on the threshold of a new era in biology as gene maps--the blueprint of life--provide us more and more information about the genetic basis of diseases. This information will revolutionize medicine, but also raises issues of privacy and public policy."
Professor Lander will be formally inducted into the IOM at its annual meeting next October.
Established in 1970 as a unit of the NAS (but with separate membership), the IOM is broadly based in the biomedical sciences and health professions, as well as related aspects of the behavioral and social sciences, administration, law, the physical sciences and engineering.
The organization is concerned with the protection and advancement of the health professions and sciences, the promotion of research and development pertinent to health, and the improvement of health care. It is expected that members of the IOM will maintain and exemplify the highest standard of scientific integrity. Election to IOM represents both an honor and an obligation to volunteer time on committees engaged in a broad range of studies on health policy issues.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 28, 1998.