Three NYU professors—David Heeger, Joseph LeDoux, and Ruth Nussenzweig—have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the Washington, D.C.-based organization announced today.
Heeger and LeDoux, who hold appointments in NYU’s Center for Neural Science and Department of Psychology, and Nussenzweig, a professor in the Department of Pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center, were among the 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries who were elected “in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research,” the Academy said.
Heeger’s research spans an interdisciplinary cross-section of neuroscience (visual, cognitive, and computational neuroscience), psychology (psychophysics), and engineering (image processing, computer vision, computer graphics). He develops computational theories of brain function, and his lab uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to test those theories and to quantitatively investigate the relationship between brain activity and behavior. His studies have enhanced our understanding of visual perception and attention. Some of his recent studies have focused on understanding autism.
LeDoux, Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science at NYU’s Center for Neural Science, focuses on emotion and memory. His studies show how we can respond to danger before we know what we are responding to. He has also shed light on how emotional memories are formed and stored in the brain. Through this research, LeDoux, who also holds an appointment at NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, has mapped the neural circuits underlying learning and memory about threats and has identified cells, synapses, and molecules that make this learning and memory possible. His work has also helped shed light on fear and anxiety disorders.
Nussenzweig, C.V. Starr Professor of Medical and Molecular Parasitology in the Departments of Pathology and Microbiology at NYU Langone Medical Center, has conducted pioneering work in malaria research. She and her colleagues have made a series of discoveries in this area, finding that they could induce protection against this infection by the immunization of mice, monkeys and humans with irradiated sporozoites—parasites that mosquitoes inject into hosts’ bloodstreams.
Among the NAS’s former members are Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright, and Alexander Graham Bell. Additional information about the academy and its members is available here.