The American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States, has elected UC Berkeley chemist Michael Marletta as one of 28 new members.
Marletta is the C.H. and Annie Li Chair in the Molecular Biology of Diseases in the College of Chemistry, as well as a professor of chemistry and of molecular and cell biology.
Working at the interface of chemistry and biology, Marletta has made groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of an essential cellular control system: nitric oxide signaling. Nitric oxide functions as a regulator in numerous biological processes, including blood vessel homeostasis, immune defense and a broad range of neural functions.
He discovered the key nitric oxide-producing enzyme, nitrogen oxide synthase, and the critical cellular target of nitrogen oxide, soluble guanylate cyclase. His work has revealed essential mechanistic features of heme- and nitric oxide-binding proteins and of S-nitrosation.
According to the society, “A guiding principle of his research has been his astute use of evolutionary relationships and of structural analysis to discover and illuminate molecular mechanisms. His studies on prokaryotic nitrogen synthase and bacterial guanylate cyclase have yielded important insights into function and specificity of their mammalian counterparts.”
The society was founded in Philadelphia in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge” in the sciences and humanities.