Seven UC Berkeley faculty members were among 120 new members and 23 new international members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced this week, an honor that recognizes their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
The seven new members are neuroscientist Marla Feller, herpetologist Tyrone Hayes, economists Hilary Hoynes and Emmanuel Saez, chemists Jeffrey Long and T. Don Tilley and biochemist Donald Rio.
There are now 156 UC Berkeley faculty members in the ranks of the NAS.
The NAS is a private, nonprofit institution established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It not only recognizes achievement in science, but also provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.
Feller, a professor of molecular and cell biology, studies the development and functional organization of neural circuits in the eye’s retina. She has made significant discoveries regarding the mechanisms and developmental roles of activity waves, gap junctions and motion detection in the retina.
Hayes, a professor of integrative biology, is associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the College of Letters and Science. He studies the effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals on amphibians. He is best known for his research concluding that the herbicide atrazine, commonly used in corn fields, is an endocrine disruptor that demasculinizes and feminizes male frogs.
Hoynes, a professor of economics and of public policy, holds the Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities and directs the Berkeley Opportunity Lab. She studies poverty, inequality, food and nutrition programs, and the impacts of government tax and transfer programs on low-income families. Her current research examines how access to the social safety net in early life affects children’s later life health and human capital outcomes.
Long is a professor of chemistry and of chemical and biomolecular engineering and a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He focuses on the design and controlled synthesis of novel inorganic materials and molecules with applications in gas storage, molecular separations, conductivity, catalysis and magnetism.
Donald Rio, a professor of molecular and cell biology, studies the mechanisms used to mobilize transposable DNA elements in the genome and how these become altered in disease states. He also investigates patterns of alternative splicing of pre-mRNA, which is an important mechanism for the regulation of gene expression and the evolution of organismal complexity in metazoans, and which leads to significant proteomic diversification.
Tilley, the PMP Tech Chancellor’s Chair in Chemistry and a senior faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab, conducts synthetic, structural and reactivity studies on novel inorganic and organometallic materials in search of unusual electronic properties or new chemical transformations. He is exploring metal-mediated routes to new polymers, using new molecular and chemical approaches to design and construct advanced solid state materials and heterogeneous catalysts.
Saez, a professor of economics and director of the Center for Equitable Growth, is known internationally for his studies of income and wealth inequality and tax policy. Jointly with Thomas Piketty, he created the top income share series that show a dramatic increase in U.S. inequality since 1980. His 2019 book, “The Triumph of Injustice”, written with UC Berkeley colleague Gabriel Zucman, narrates the demise of U.S. progressive taxation and explores ways to reinvent such policies in the 21st century.