Honors season is in full swing and two UC Davis professors have been elected to prestigious academies.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced its new members April 30, and Charles H. “Chuck” Langley, professor of evolution and ecology, was elected, along with Al Gore, Robert Redford and Sandra Day O’Connor. About 200 new fellows are elected to the Academy, which was founded in 1780, every year.
The National Academy of Sciences published its list today, and Stephen C. Kowalczykowski becomes the thirty-first UC Davis faculty member (by my count) elected to the Academy or its siblings, the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering.
Langley studies the forces shaping natural genetic variation, working mostly in the Drosophila fruit fly. Natural selection, mutation, genetic drift and other factors can all affect different parts of the genome in different ways, and now that scientists have the ability to look at entire genomes they can begin to understand how all those different influences work.
Kowalczykowski has done ground-breaking work in understanding how DNA is copied and repaired. With Ronald Baskin in Molecular and Cellular Biology, his lab developed ways to watch DNA being copied and repaired in real time at the single-molecule level. I’ve written a number of stories about this fascinating work over the years; much of this is rounded up in a story I wrote a couple of years ago when he gave the Academic Senate’s Distinguished Research Lecture.