School of medicine

School Notes: School of Medicine
July/August 2016

Robert J. Alpern |

Physiologist named to Academy

Fred Sigworth ’79PhD, professor of cellular and molecular physiology and of biomedical engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Throughout his career, he has studied the structure and function of ion channels. Sigworth began his early research with Nobel laureate Erwin Neher at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany. There he spent five years involved in the development of patch-clamp techniques for the direct measurement of single ion-channel currents. His other early work focused on the development and use of fluctuation analysis and Markov statistics to study channel properties. Sigworth, who joined Yale as faculty in 1984, uses cryoelectron microscopy in his lab to determine the structure of channel proteins in his latest research.

Yale geneticist to lead Rockefeller University

Richard P. Lifton, chair and Sterling Professor of Genetics and professor of medicine, will become president of the Rockefeller University on September 1, 2016. Lifton, a pioneering geneticist, came to Yale in 1993 and has led the Department of Genetics as chair since 1998. He founded the Yale Center for Genome Analysis and was a developer of exome sequencing, an efficient method for sequencing expressed genes in the entire genome. At Yale he has led the application of this technology for both discovery of new disease genes and for clinical diagnosis. Lifton, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator since 1994, identified more than 20 genes associated with blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and bone density in his career. For this and other significant research contributions toward understanding hypertension, he received the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Lifton also cochaired the planning committee for President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative in 2015. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

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