Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
Three members of the MIT faculty were among the 65 scientists elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies this week, bringing the total IOM membership to 1,651.
The new MIT members are Elazer R. Edelman, the Thomas D. and Virginia W. Cabot Professor of Health Sciences and Technology; Rudolf Jaenisch, a professor of biology and founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; and Susan L. Lindquist, a professor of biology, member of the Whitehead Institute, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
"It is a great pleasure to welcome these distinguished and influential individuals to the Institute of Medicine," said IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg. "Members are elected through a highly selective process that recognizes people who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health.
"Election is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health."
The Institute of Medicine is unique for its structure as both an honorific membership organization and an advisory organization. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the institute has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on issues related to human health. With their election, members make a commitment to devote a significant amount of volunteer time as members of IOM study committees.
Studies from the institute completed in the past year include "The Future of Drug Safety: Promoting and Protecting the Health of the Public," an agenda for addressing the vulnerabilities that have hindered the optimal functioning of the nation's drug safety system; "Preventing Medication Errors," which documents the impact of drug-related mishaps and provides an agenda for improving the safety of medication use; and "The Future of Emergency Care," a series of three reports that recommend steps to shore up the nation's struggling emergency care system.