Three Johns Hopkins Scientists Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

04/18/2019
Johns Hopkins scientists Rachel Green, Ph.D., Kenneth Kinzler, Ph.D., and Cynthia Wolberger, Ph.D., are among more than 200 scientists, scholars, writers, artists and other leaders, including former first lady Michelle L. R. Obama, who have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Green, professor of molecular biology and genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, focuses on a protein-building machine called the ribosome. These molecular machines connect organic building blocks, much like toy Legos, to construct proteins that are essential to the inner workings of a cell. Her laboratory uses genetic and biochemical tools to explore the function of ribosomes in bacteria, yeast and mammals.

Kinzler, professor of oncology, co-director of The Ludwig Center and associate director for basic research at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, has been recognized for his role in uncovering the genetic alterations linked to the initiation of colon cancer, one of the most common cancers worldwide; the development of novel approaches for the molecular analysis of cancer, including the study of a cancer’s “transcriptome,” referring to all the genes that are “turned on,” or transcribed, at a particular point in time; and more recently, for his role in deciphering the genetic blueprints of many types of cancer.

Wolberger, professor of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, studies proteins that pack DNA into a bundle within a cell and how special tags, called ubiquitin, are attached to these proteins and help to turn genes on or off. She develops 3D models to study the cellular machinery that controls DNA packaging in much finer detail, revealing how the process may go awry in human disease and potential pathways to develop drugs that can correct the process.

The 2019 class of new members will be inducted at a ceremony in October in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They follow other notable academy members, including Johns Hopkins alumnus Michael Bloomberg, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Maria Mitchell, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Margaret Mead and Martin Luther King Jr.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1780 to convene the world’s leaders to address societal challenges.