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Sali elected to National Academy of Sciences
By Levi Gadye, PhD / Wed May 2, 2018
Andrej Sali, PhD, associate dean of research in the UCSF School of Pharmacy and a leading expert in the computational modeling of complex molecular and subcellular structures, has been elected as a member of the 2018 class of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
Sali, a faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, is one of 84 new NAS members who were chosen “in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” He joins School colleagues Jim Wells, PhD, and William DeGrado, PhD, who were elected in 1999.
“This happened because I am at UCSF and because of my very supportive colleagues, including students, postdocs, and faculty,” Sali said. “Our collaborators deserve to be recognized, too.”
Over the course of a prolific career, spanning over two decades and nearly 400 published articles and 60,000 citations, Sali has trailblazed new methods for mapping out the structures of proteins and larger complexes of molecules, laying the groundwork for targeted studies of cellular health and disease. In 2003, he developed a software package known as MODELLER—one of the earliest computational methods for determining the shapes of proteins—upon which much of the modern field of structural biology continues to rely.
Another piece of software he developed, the integrated modeling platform (IMP), was recently used by Sali and over two dozen collaborators to map, with nanometer resolution, the structure of the nuclear pore complex, a molecular machine that governs what goes in and out of the nucleus of a cell.
The NAS is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and—with the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, and National Research Council—provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.
About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.