MBL Director Huntington Willard elected to National Academy of Medicine

Huntington F. Willard, president and director of the Marine Biological Laboratory and professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the academy announced Oct. 17.

Election is considered one of the highest honors in the health and medical fields and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service. This year’s class of 79 members was elected by peers in the academy.

Willard is a respected leader in the fields of genetics and genome biology. His research interests include genetics and epigenetics; genome and chromosome biology; and the genome sciences and their broad implications for biology, medicine, and society. At the MBL, he contributes to the development of ‘new’ non-traditional model organisms, taking advantage of the wealth of species, genomes and phenotypes to be found among marine organisms.

“Hunt Willard has distinguished himself as a unique scholar of the human genome,” said National Academy of Medicine member Jonathan Gitlin, director of the Division of Research at the University of Chicago-affiliated MBL. “His discoveries have significantly advanced our understanding of the basic biology of gene expression in all organisms and have had a direct and important impact on human health. This is a much deserved honor for him and continues the long tradition of recognition of scientific excellence at the laboratory.”

Formerly known as the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Medicine is an honorific and advisory organization. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, it is recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues.