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Three Ludwig researchers elected to the National Academy of Medicine

Yang Shi
Kornelia Polyak, Ludwig Cancer Research
Kornelia Polyak
Crystal Mackall

Ludwig Oxford’s Yang Shi, Ludwig Harvard’s Kornelia Polyak and Ludwig Stanford’s Crystal Mackall were among 100 new members elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in mid-October. Membership in the Academy is among the highest honors in the biomedical field. Yang was recognized for his numerous contributions to epigenetic research, most notably his identification in 2004 of an enzyme, LSD1, that erases methyl marks from histones—a finding that disproved a 40 year-old model of epigenetics that presumed such methylation to be irreversible. His group went on to identify and characterize several other such enzymes over the years. The NAM noted that Yang’s “elegant mechanistic discoveries” in epigenetics have revolutionized the field and had a “far-reaching impact on basic and translational research.” Kornelia was honored for her work “documenting the clinical and functional relevance of intratumoral cellular heterogeneity” and for her creative use of new technologies and models to help establish the fundamental contributions of noncancerous cells to the biology of tumors. Crystal was recognized for pioneering immune therapies for pediatric cancers, for her many fundamental discoveries in human immunology and for translating those discoveries into “cutting-edge engineered cell therapies for cancer.” We congratulate all three for this well-deserved recognition of their research and creativity.

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