Five UChicago faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences

Five University of Chicago scholars have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, joining other scientists and researchers chosen in “recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

Profs. Marianne Bertrand, Laura Gagliardi, John H.R. Maunsell, Angela V. Olinto and Olufunmilayo F. Olopade are among the 120 new members elected this year. The class includes 59 women, the most to join the National Academy of Sciences in a single year. Also included in the April 26 announcement was the addition of 30 international non-voting members.

Marianne Bertrand

Marianne Bertrand is the Chris P. Dialynas Professor of Economics at the Booth School of Business. She is an applied microeconomist whose research covers the fields of labor economics, corporate finance and development economics. She is the faculty co-director of Chicago Booth’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation and the Pritzker Director of the Inclusive Economy Lab at the University of Chicago Urban Labs.

 She has received several awards and honors, including the 2004 Elaine Bennett Research Prize from the American Economic Association and the 2012 Society of Labor Economists’ Rosen Prize for Outstanding Contributions to Labor Economics. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Center for Economic Policy Research and the Institute for the Study of Labor.

Laura Gagliardi

Laura Gagliardi is the Richard and Kathy Leventhal Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, with a joint appointment at the James Franck Institute. She is also the director of the Chicago Center for Theoretical Chemistry and the Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center.

Gagliardi’s research aims to develop novel quantum chemical methods and apply them to study phenomena related to sustainable energies, with special focus on chemical systems relevant to catalysis, spectroscopy, photochemistry, and gas separation.

John H.R. Maunsell

John H.R. Maunsell is the Albert D. Lasker Professor of Neurobiology and the director of the Neuroscience Institute. 

Maunsell’s research focuses on how the brain represents and processes visual input, and the feedback between neuronal activity, behavior and performance. In particular, Maunsell studies neurons in the visual cerebral cortex, in response to varying levels of and shifts in attention. To do so, Maunsell uses a variety of molecular, anatomical, electrophysiological, optical and behavioral approaches to record and analyze individual neurons in monkeys and mice, trained to perform visual tasks. He has found that neuronal signals in the cerebral cortex are profoundly affected by attention, and has shown that this modulation by attention is greatly influenced by mechanisms that exist at all levels of sensory processing.

For his research contributions and service, Maunsell has been awarded numerous honors, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014.

Angela V. Olinto

Angela V. Olinto is the Dean of the Physical Sciences Division of the University of Chicago since 2018 and is the Albert A. Michelson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Olinto is a leader of the new field of astroparticle physics. Her best-known contributions include the study of compact stars made of quarks, primordial natural inflation, the origins and evolution of cosmic magnetic fields, and the origin of the highest energy cosmic rays, gamma-rays, and neutrinos arriving on Earth from distant sources. She was a founding member of the Pierre Auger Observatory and currently leads the Probe Of Extreme Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (POEMMA) space mission and the Extreme Universe Space Observatory (EUSO) on super pressure balloon missions, all designed to discover the origin of the highest energy particles to study their sources and their interactions.

She is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a trustee of the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago, and a member of the Argonne National Laboratory Board of Governors, and has served on many advisory committees for the National Academy of Sciences, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She received the Chaire d’Excellence Award of the French Agence Nationale de Recherche in 2006, the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2011, and the Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching in 2015 at the University of Chicago.

Olufunmilayo F. Olopade

Olufunmilayo Falusi Olopade is the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics and the founding director of the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics and Global Health. She specializes in cancer risk assessment and individualized management for the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. Olopade is recognized as a pioneer in cancer genetics, and her contributions have shed light on the origins and heterogeneity of breast cancer in diverse populations across the African Diaspora. Her laboratory was the first to describe recurrent BRCA1 mutations in extended African-American families with breast and ovarian cancers, underscoring the need for at-risk women to receive genetic counseling, testing, and screening at younger ages. 

Olopade has received a multitude of awards and honors for her work, including honorary degrees from several universities, the Franklin Roosevelt Freedom From Want Medal, Officer of the Order of the Niger designation, a MacArthur Fellowship, and an Order of Lincoln Award—the state of Illinois’ highest honor for professional achievement and public service. She is also an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Medicine.