American Philosophical Society
Member History

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2. Biological Sciences[X]
209. Neurobiology[X]
41Name:  Dr. Richard F. Thompson
 Institution:  University of Southern California
 Year Elected:  1999
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  209. Neurobiology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1930
 Death Date:  September 16, 2014
Richard Thompson received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He was a professor at the University of Oregon School of Medicine from 1959-67 and a professor at the University of California, Irvine from 1967-73 and 1975-80. He was then professor, Karl Lashley's Chair, at Harvard University from 1973-75 and the Bing Professor of Human Biology and Psychology at Stanford University from 1980-87. He then became the Keck Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences and Director of the Neurosciences Program at the University of Southern California. He was a recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association and the Warren Medal of the Society of Experimental Psychologists. He received the 2010 Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement from the American Psychological Foundation. He was the author of Foundations of Physiological Psychology (1967); (with others) Psychology (1971); and Introduction to Physiological Psychology (1975). Dr. Thompson served on the council of the Society for Neuroscience and as president of the American Psychological Society. He devoted his life to the study of brain substrates of behavior. His text, Foundations of Physiological Psychology, was a landmark in the development of modern behavioral neuroscience, as was his later founding and editing of the APA journal, Behavioral Neuroscience. Inspired by Karl Lashley's "search for the engram," his research was focused on neural mechanisms of learning and memory, initially in the now classic work with W.A. Spencer on habituation. Dr. Thompson and his students utilized basic associative learning in mammals, characterizing processes of memory formation in two brain structures: hippocampus and cerebellum. They appear to have localized one form of memory trace to the cerebellum, thus coming full circle to Lashley's initial quest. Dr. Thompson was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1999 and was awarded the Society's Karl Spencer Lashley Award in 2007 "In recognition of his distinguished contributions to understanding the brain substrates of learning and memory. Specifically, through his meticulous and diligent application of the eyeblink classical conditioning paradigm, Thompson discovered the essential role of the deep cerebellar nuclei, as an essential component of classically conditioned procedural memory formation, and that plasticity within the synapses of these nuclei represent the long-elusive memory trace that Lashley had sought." Richard Thompson died September 16, 2014, at age 84.
42Name:  Dr. Inder M. Verma
 Year Elected:  2006
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  209. Neurobiology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1947
Inder Verma has made many sustained contributions to biological sciences in the last 30 years. In 1972, while at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Verma carried out the first complementary DNA (cDNA) synthesis to eukaryotic messenger RNA using reverse transcriptase, which is one of the basic tenets of modern biotechnology. Starting in 1974 at The Salk Institute, Dr. Verma characterized the biochemical properties of the seminal enzyme, reverse transcriptase - a set of studies that are now in biology textbooks. In early 1980, Dr. Verma's laboratory began to study the molecular architecture of RNA tumor viruses. His laboratory determined the complete nucleotide sequence of the first transforming virus and identified the transforming gene. More importantly the sequence revealed the molecular mechanism of how normal cellular sequences (proto-oncogenes) can be acquired by seemingly innocuous viruses to become cancer genes (oncogenes). Dr. Verma's laboratory also discovered a new transforming gene, Fos, which turned out to be a transcriptional factor, essential for the induction of a wide variety of genes in response to a plethora of external signals. These studies established the principle that acquisition of cellular genes capable of transcription of other genes is an important mechanistic event to subvert the normal cellular transcriptional machinery. These studies were extended to novel transcription factors like NF-KB and their role in the neoplastic transformation of the cell. More recently Dr. Verma's laboratory has cleverly exploited the use of mouse genetics to pinpoint the role of many of these oncogenes/transcription factors in normal cellular growth, differentiation, and development. Dr. Verma's laboratory in 1983 developed the first viral delivery system to transfer therapeutic genes to cells and animals. Dr. Verma's laboratory laid the basis for the use of mouse RNA tumor viruses as delivery vehicle, which has become the mainstay of the field of gene therapy. Dr. Verma's laboratory over the last 15 years has continuously refined the use of viral vectors for successful gene delivery. His laboratory has shown that mice and dogs suffering from hemophilia (a clotting disorder) due to deficiency of factor IX gene product, can be cured by a single injection of viral vectors making factor IX gene product. These results have formed the basis of current clinical trials with hemophiliacs. In his quest for an efficient, safe, and versatile delivery system, Dr. Verma's laboratory has tamed the dreaded AIDS virus (HIV) to become an efficient and safe delivery vehicle. His pioneering work in this area has lead to the generation of a highly efficient and versatile gene delivery system to cure a wide variety of genetic diseases. Dr. Verma, though a basic scientist, has been an ardent supporter of translational research, "bench to bedside". He was a founder of one of the first gene therapy related biotech companies in the world, Cell Genesys. Presently he serves on the board of this company and chairs their scientific advisory board. Cell Genesys is presently embarking upon seven cancer related clinical trials, and is gearing up to treat hemophiliacs. Dr. Verma has been on the editorial boards of a number of international scientific journals, including serving as editor-in-chief of Molecular Therapy, a journal specializing in gene therapy. He is also handling editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). Exploiting the knowledge in the area of signal transduction, Dr. Verma founded another biotech company, Signal Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (now CellGene) to try to identify small molecules capable of interfering with diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation, etc. Dr. Verma firmly believes that a rational drug design based on the precise knowledge developed by working on model systems is the way of future molecular medicine. Because of his pioneering work in the biotechnology arena, Dr. Verma is on the scientific advisory boards of several biotech companies. More recently Dr. Verma has been helping a number of Indian information technology (IT) companies to enter the field of biotechnology to begin to mine enormous biological information. Dr. Verma has had a long-standing association with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and has helped it to formulate its cherished goal of starting a biotechnology revolution in India. Dr. Verma's scientific contributions have been widely recognized by a number of honors, which include the American Cancer Society Professorship (lifetime), an Outstanding Investigator Award from the NIH, membership in the Third World Academy of Science, the National Academy of Science, India, the National Academy of Sciences (USA), the Institute of Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and an associate member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). Dr. Verma has also received numerous awards, including the 2008 Vilcek Foundation Prize, and invited lectureships at various national and international organizations. Dr. Verma combines the best of basic science with its applications to medicine. He has, by example and as a spokesman, championed the cause of biotechnology for the benefit of the common man. Dr. Verma strongly believes that the purpose of science in the long run is to improve the quality of life of humankind.
43Name:  Dr. Peter K. Vogt
 Institution:  The Scripps Research Institute
 Year Elected:  1991
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  209. Neurobiology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1932
Peter Vogt's work on the biology and genetics of retroviruses has opened major new horizons in understanding cancer. He and his colleagues were the first to identify a specific cancer-causing gene (oncogene) of a retrovirus and to establish (with Stehelin, Varmus and Bishop) the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes. These discoveries form the conceptual basis of contemporary research on the genesis of cancer. More recently, Dr. Vogt has also discovered new oncogenes that play key roles in regulating the growth of cells. A professor at the Scripps Research Institute since 1993, Dr. Vogt has also served as assistant and associate professor of pathology at the University of Colorado (1962-67); as professor of microbiology at the University of Washington (1967-71); and as Hastings (Distinguished) Professor of Microbiology at the University of Southern California (1971-93). A member of the National Academy of Sciences (1980), the Institute of Medicine (2003) and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2004), he is also the recipient of awards such as the Max Planck Society's Irene-Vogeler Prize (1976) and the ICN International Prize in Virology (1989). An accomplished painter, Dr. Vogt's artistic work can be viewed at www.
44Name:  Dr. Paul A. Weiss
 Institution:  Rockefeller University
 Year Elected:  1953
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  209. Neurobiology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1898
 Death Date:  9/8/89
45Name:  Dr. Rolf M. Zinkernagel
 Institution:  Institute of Experimental Immunology, University of Zurich
 Year Elected:  2001
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  209. Neurobiology
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1944
Rolf Zinkernagel received an M.D. in 1968 from the University of Basel and a Ph.D. in 1975 from the Australian National University. He was a professor in the Department of Pathology at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation (1976-79) and a professor at the University Hospital in Zurich (1979-88). He has been a full professor and director of the Institute of Experimental Immunology at the University of Zurich since 1992. Rolf Zinkernagel elucidated the biologic significance of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) restricted adaptive immune response. This kind of response provides protection from a panoply of viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa that have no or low cytotoxicity and, coincidentally, is the fundamental barrier to in-species tissue and organ transplantation (e.g. human to human organ and bone marrow transplantation). Dr. Zinkernagel was awarded the Lasker Award in 1995. In 1996 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine "for discoveries concerning the specificity of the cell mediated immune defense." He was elected as an international fellow of the Royal Society and an international member of the American Philosophical Society in 2001.
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