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Five San Diego researchers have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the elite honorary society that was founded during the Lincoln administration in the 1860s to advise the government on science and technology.

It’s considered one of the highest honors in the US, partly because the group has a comparatively small membership — about 2,500 — and its members have included such luminaries as Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman, who led the Manhattan Project during World War II, producing the first atomic bomb.

The Academy added 150 members during this year’s elections, including three scholars from Scripps Research in La Jolla: neuroscientist Hollis Cline, biophysicist Jane Dyson, and computational biologist James Williamson.

Although they work in different fields, the three are part of a broad effort by Scripps Research to understand how the human body changes and works, work that is essential to the development of drugs and therapies.

The news comes during a heady time for the private biomedical institute. Last October, Scripps neuroscientist Ardem Patapoutian shared the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. The institute also has received a lot of praise for its insights about COVID-19.

The two other local scientists elected to the Academy are Yishi Jin, a neurobiologist, and James Kadonaga, a biologist. Both are professors at UC San Diego and are also part of larger efforts to understand and improve human health.

The Academy election will burnish San Diego County’s already bright reputation in science. Last year, Clarivate, a British science data company, said the region is home to nearly 90 of the most highly cited scientists in the world.

Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com

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