Children's researcher elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
April 28, 2008
Leonard Zon, MD, director of the Stem Cell Research Program at Children's Hospital Boston, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy research centers. Zon is part of the 2008 class of Fellows, which includes leaders from the sciences, the arts and humanities, business, public affairs, and the nonprofit sector.
"The Academy honors excellence by electing to membership remarkable men and women who have made preeminent contributions to their fields, and to the world," said Academy President Emilio Bizzi. "We are pleased to welcome into the Academy these new members to help advance our founders' goal of 'cherishing knowledge and shaping the future.'"
Zon, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, is a practicing hematologist at Children's. His laboratory focuses on the use of the zebrafish model for research into hematopoiesis and as a screen for oncogenic genes and proteins. Zon chose the zebrafish because the zebrafish embryo is completely clear, providing a "real-time" view of all organs and systems as they develop. In addition, the species is extremely fecund -- each mother lays 200-300 eggs weekly -- and thrifty -- a large number of animals can be kept in a relatively small space. Finally, zebrafish have several naturally occurring mutants that mirror human anemias.
An independent policy research center, the Academy undertakes studies of complex and emerging problems. Its diverse membership of scholars and practitioners from many disciplines and professions gives the Academy a unique capacity to conduct a wide range of interdisciplinary, long-term policy research. Current studies focus on science, technology and global security; social policy and American institutions; the humanities and culture; and education.
"For 228 years, the Academy has served the public good by convening leading thinkers and doers from diverse perspectives to examine -- and provide practical policy solutions to -- the pressing issues of the day," added Chief Executive Officer and William T. Golden Chair Leslie Berlowitz. "I am confident that this distinguished class of new members will continue that tradition."
The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 11, at the Academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots, the Academy has elected as members the finest minds and most influential leaders from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the twentieth. The current membership includes some 200 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.
Leonard Zon, MD