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Taekjip Ha elected to National Academy of Sciences

April 22, 2015
By: Diana Yates.

Physics professor Taekjip Ha has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest professional honors a scientist can garner. He is among 84 new members and 21 foreign associates announced by the Academy on April 28, including fellow Illinois professors Renée Baillargeon, Gary Dell, Steve Granick, Catherine Murphy and John A. Rogers.

Taekjip Ha
Taekjip Ha.

“National Academy memberships are among the highest academic honors our nation bestows,” said Phyllis M. Wise, the chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus. “These faculty members are recognized today as leaders in biophysics, chemistry, engineering, molecular biology and psychology. This is a great day for these scholars and for our campus.”

Ha is the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, a professor in the Beckman Institute and the Cellular Decision Making in Cancer theme leader in the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois. He also is co-director of the National Science Foundation-funded Center for the Physics of Living Cells at the U. of I.

Professor Ha uses physical concepts and experimental techniques to study fundamental questions in molecular biology. He has developed new techniques that have enhanced the study of individual molecular interactions. His most recent work uses single-molecule measurements to understand protein-DNA interactions and enzyme dynamics.

Ha is a recipient of the Ho-Am Prize (2011), the Bárány Award of the Biophysical Society (2007), an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship (2003), a Cottrell Scholar Award (Research Corporation, 2003), a Young Fluorescence Investigator Award of the Biophysical Society (2002) and a Searle Scholar Award (2001). He was named a University Scholar at the University of Illinois in 2009, and he is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

“Congratulations to all six of our newly elected National Academy of Sciences members. They are clearly innovators and leading scholars in their respective disciplines, and this recognition is well-deserved,” said Ilesanmi Adesida, the provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at Illinois. “We are all proud to call them our colleagues here at Illinois.”

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. Founded in 1863, the academy acts as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.

Ha has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the longest-standing honorary societies in the nation. He will join psychology professors J. Kathryn Bock and Gary S. Dell with the other new members in an American Academy of Arts and Sciences induction ceremony in October in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

April 22, 2015
By: Diana Yates.
Photos By: L. Brian Stauffer.

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