April 29, 2014
Benjamin Hall, Eric D’Asaro elected to National Academy of Sciences
Benjamin Hall, professor emeritus of genome sciences and biology, and Eric D’Asaro, a senior principal oceanographer at the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory and professor of oceanography, are among the 84 new members and 21 foreign associates elected as fellows the National Academy of Sciences. They were chosen recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, according to a news release April 29 from the academy.
Hall, a UW faculty member since 1963, developed a method for producing genetically engineered proteins in yeast. He and his collaborators then used the yeast invention to produce the coat protein of human hepatitis B virus in yeast cells, the basis for a vaccine now used worldwide. The patented invention for expression of proteins in yeast has been licensed by manufacturers, returning royalty revenue to the UW. Since 1994, Hall has been interested in molecular evolution, studying the evolutionary history of fungi as well as the northern hemisphere dispersal and evolutionary tree of the 1,000 species in genus Rhododendron. Hall is a graduate of the University of Kansas and received his doctorate in chemistry from Harvard.
D’Asaro studies ocean turbulence and mixing in environments ranging from coastal currents to the deep sea and beneath hurricanes. For the past 20 years he has developed a unique type of underwater float and used the technology to measure ocean turbulence and its effect on biological activity. He is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and of the American Meteorological Association. D’Asaro earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics in 1976 from Harvard University, and his doctorate in oceanography in 1980 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Those newly elected bring the total number of active academy members to 2,214 and the total number of foreign associates to 444.