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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Researcher Elected to National Academy of Sciences


Angela M. Gronenborn, Ph.D., chair of the department of structural biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has been elected a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

NAS is a private organization of scientists and engineers established by Congress in 1863 to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology. Today, the NAS performs an unparalleled public service by bringing together committees of experts to address critical national issues in all areas of science and technology and to give advice to the federal government and the public based on their analyses.

“It is gratifying that the National Academy of Sciences has recognized the importance of Dr. Gronenborn’s contribution to the field of structural biology and, in doing so, the importance of the field of structural biology to making major advances in biomedical research and medicine,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Structural biologists use powerful, highly sophisticated technologies, such as x-ray crystallography, electron microscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, to reveal the three-dimensional structure of proteins and other important biomolecules. In recent years, structural biology has become an increasingly important aspect of the drug discovery process.

Prior to coming to the University of Pittsburgh in 2004, Dr. Gronenborn was chief of the structural biology section in the Laboratory of Chemical Physics at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health. She is considered one of the world’s leading experts in NMR spectroscopy.

Dr. Gronenborn received undergraduate and master’s degrees in chemistry and, in 1978, a doctorate in organic chemistry, summa cum laude, from the University of Cologne in West Germany. She received post-doctoral training at the National Institute for Medical Research in London from 1978 to 1979, and subsequently became a member of the scientific staff in the divisions of Molecular Pharmacology and Physical Biochemistry from 1979 to 1984. In 1984, she moved to the Max-Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich as head of the Biological NMR Group, and in 1988, she was appointed a senior investigator in the Laboratory of Chemical Physics at NIDDK. She was named chief of the laboratory’s Structural Biology Section in 1991.

Dr. Gronenborn is as an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Washington Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also is an elected member of the Council of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance, the major international body of scientists pursuing magnetic resonance spectroscopy. She has authored or co-authored more than 360 scientific publications and speaks regularly at prestigious national and international meetings.

She was one of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 12 countries elected at the 144th annual meeting of the NAS, which was held this week. The new members, who were chosen in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, bring the total number of active NAS members to 2,025. Foreign associates are nonvoting members of the Academy, with citizenship outside the United States.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is considered among the nation’s leading medical schools, renowned for its curriculum that emphasizes both the science and humanity of medicine and its remarkable growth in National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant support, which has more than doubled since 1998. For fiscal year 2005, the University ranked seventh, out of more than 3,000 entities receiving NIH support, with respect to the research grants awarded to its faculty. The majority of these grants were awarded to the faculty of the medical school. As one of the university’s six Schools of the Health Sciences, the School of Medicine is the academic partner to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Their combined mission is to train tomorrow’s health care specialists and biomedical scientists, engage in groundbreaking research that will advance understanding of the causes and treatments of disease and participate in the delivery of outstanding patient care.


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