Four Columbians Among 65 Internationally Renowned Scientists Elected To The Institute Of Medicine

October 15, 2009

Four distinguished Columbia University faculty have been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences this year.

Election to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health. These four new elected Columbians – three of whom are current Columbia faculty members (Wafaa El-Sadr, M.D., M.P.H.; Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D.; and, Martin Chalfie, Ph.D.) and one who will join us from Harvard later this year (Megan Sykes, M.D.) – were among the 65 new IOM members announced Oct. 12, 2009, raising the total active IOM membership to 1,610. Columbia University Medical Center now boasts 50 members in this esteemed organization.

Wafaa El-Sadr, M.D., M.P.H.

Megan Sykes, M.D.

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D.

Martin Chalfie, Ph.D.

“Columbia’s new members were chosen through a highly selective process that recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to advancing the medical science, health care, and public health fields,” said Lee Goldman, M.D., executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences and dean of the faculties of health and medicine at Columbia University. “We are proud to have them in our midst.”

In a campus-wide email sent on Oct. 13, Dr. Goldman noted, “The election of these faculty members brings great credit to Columbia. Please join me in congratulating them on this much-deserved award.”

Wafaa El-Sadr, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine at P&S and of epidemiology in the Mailman School of Public Health, is global director of the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) at Mailman. Dr. El-Sadr leads one of the largest programs that support HIV prevention, care, and treatment efforts with hundreds of sites across 13 countries in Africa and services that have reached more than 750,000 persons. Dr. El-Sadr also has led research studies to identify effective prevention and management interventions for HIV and tuberculosis.

Megan Sykes, M.D., an expert in transplantation biology and currently the Harold and Ellen Danser Professor of Surgery and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, will join us in December as director of the Center for Translational Immunology at P&S and director of research for the growing Transplant Initiative at CUMC and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia. Dr. Sykes also will direct bone marrow transplantation research in the Department of Medicine's Division of Hematology/Oncology.

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D., the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Child Development and Education at Teachers College and adjunct professor of child development (in pediatrics) at P&S, is a developmental psychologist who examines family and neighborhood influences on children's health and well being. She designs and evaluates programs for children and youth with a focus on at-risk children. She also is director of the National Center for Children and Families and of the Columbia Institute of Child and Family Policy.

Martin Chalfie, Ph.D., the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Biological Sciences and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, won the 2008 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Based at Morningside, Dr. Chalfie is part of the interdepartmental and intercampus neurobiology and behavior Ph.D. program.

The Institute of Medicine is part of the National Academies, which also includes the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and National Research Council. The IOM structure is unique in its role as both an honorific membership group and advisory organization. Members are expected to volunteer on study committees that serve as national resources for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on issues related to human health. For more information, please visit


Jeanne Brooks Gunn, Martin Chalfie, Megan Sykes, Wafaa El Sadr