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Updated 3:00 PM May 2, 2005




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Six faculty members elected to Academy of Arts and Sciences

Six faculty members have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), a prestigious society that recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions in scholarly and professional fields.

The new members are: Rebecca Blank, Nancy Burns, David Ginsburg, Conrad Kottak, Catharine MacKinnon and Rowena Matthews. The honorees give U-M a total of 65 fellows elected to the Cambridge, Mass., academy, which was founded in 1780.

“Throughout its history, the academy has convened the leading thinkers of the day, from diverse perspectives, to participate in projects and studies that advance the public good,” says Leslie Berlowitz, AAAS executive officer. “I am confident that this distinguished class of new fellows will continue that tradition of cherishing knowledge and shaping the future.”

Blank is dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. She also serves as co-director of the Ford School’s National Poverty Center, which promotes poverty-related research. Her research has focused on the interaction between the macro economy, government anti-poverty programs and the behavior and well being of low-income families.

Burns is director of the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research (ISR). A political scientist who has studied the reasons for gender differences in political participation, she was the first woman selected to lead an ISR center since the institute was founded in 1948. Using a variety of survey data, Burns and colleagues assess the explanations usually given for women’s lower level of political activity.

Ginsburg is the James V. Neel Distinguished University Professor in human genetics and a research professor in the Life Sciences Institute (LSI). He also is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. His career has been distinguished by clinical practice, basic research on the genetics of blood clotting, and teaching. As a physician, Ginsburg is board certified in clinical genetics and internal medicine, as well as the subspecialties of hematology and medical oncology.

Kottak serves as professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology. His recent work includes an investigation of how middle-class families draw on various media in planning, managing and evaluating their choices with respect to competing demands of work and family. He has done ethnographic fieldwork in Brazil since 1962, in Madagascar since 1966, and the United States since 1976.

MacKinnon, the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law, specializes in sex equality issues under international and constitutional law. She pioneered the legal claim for sexual harassment and, with Andrea Dworkin, created ordinances recognizing pornography as a civil rights violation. In addition, the Supreme Court of Canada has accepted her approaches to equality, pornography and hate speech.

Matthews is the G. Robert Greenberg Distinguished University Professor of Biological Chemistry and a research scientist in LSI. She also is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. Matthews studies the biochemistry of vitamins and their role in the chemical reactions of the cell. Her work contributed to the USDA recommendation that folic acid be added to grain products to prevent birth defects and heart disease. An estimated 40,000 deaths by heart disease have been avoided since that policy went into effect.

The new fellows will be inducted Oct. 8 at a ceremony in Cambridge.

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