Oregon Health & Science University researcher Eric Gouaux, Ph.D., today was named a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Being elected to the NAS is one of the highest honors in science. As part of the NAS, members act as scientific advisers to the government. They are considered the nation's top experts in their fields; all volunteer their time to study specific concerns. The results of their deliberations have inspired some of America's most significant and lasting efforts to improve the health, education, and welfare of the population.
Gouaux is a senior scientist within the OHSU Vollum Institute, which houses a group of researchers conducting basic science studies aimed at developing new treatments for neurological and psychiatric diseases. He also is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Gouaux’s lab specifically focuses on communications between brain cells (neurons) and the specific cell structures that are involved.
Last year Gouaux and colleagues published a significant breakthrough in the journal Nature: a detailed map of a brain cell glutamate receptor. These receptors play a key role in memory formation and daily activity in the brain. When these receptors malfunction, they can also play a role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. By obtaining an understanding of how these receptors work, it is hoped that new treatments can be developed.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.
Gouaux is one of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 14 countries recognized today for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
The election was held during the 147th annual meeting of the academy. Those elected today bring the total number of active members to 2,097.
Oregon Health & Science University now is home to five distinguished members of the National Academy of Sciences; four are senior scientists in the Vollum Institute. In addition to Gouaux, they include:
Wolfard Almers, Ph.D., adjunct professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, OHSU School of Medicine, and a Vollum researcher who was elected in 2006.
Brian Druker, M.D., director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2007.
Richard Goodman, M.D., Ph.D., director of the OHSU Vollum Institute, professor of cell and developmental biology, and medicine, OHSU School of Medicine, was elected to the academy in 2002.
Gail Mandel, Ph.D., senior scientist at the Oregon Health & Science University Vollum Institute and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, was elected to the academy in 2008
View today’s press announcement by the National Academy of Sciences for a full list of newly announced members.
Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research university, and Oregon's only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government). OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.