The Academy, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is among the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy research centers. Founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and other scholar-patriots, it has elected as members the finest minds and most influential leaders from every American generation, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Webster, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Albert Einstein.
Among those joining Dr. Stillman in this year’s class of inductees to the Academy are U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens; mathematician and philanthropist James H. Simons, an important donor to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for research on autism; Nobel laureates Linda Buck, who arrived at a molecular understanding of the sense of smell, and Craig Mello, a discoverer of RNA interference; and Meg Whitman, a Cold Spring Harbor native who was until recently the President and CEO of Ebay.
“It is a great honor to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,” Dr. Stillman said. “To join the company of so many outstanding individuals, spanning the worlds of the sciences and the humanities, means a great deal to me. I have long believed that the future health of American society depends in large measure on better communication, and a more vigorous sharing of knowledge and perspectives among scientists and leading cultural and political figures.”
A native of Australia, Dr. Stillman obtained a Bachelor of Science degree with honors at The University of Sydney and a Ph.D. from the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University. He moved to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 1979 and has been at the Laboratory ever since, having been promoted to the scientific staff in 1981. Dr. Stillman has been Director of the Cancer Center at Cold Spring Harbor since 1992, a position he still holds. In 1994, he succeeded Dr. James D. Watson as Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and was appointed President in 2003.
Dr. Stillman's research focuses on how DNA replication is duplicated in cells, a process that ensures accurate inheritance of genetic material from one generation to the next. He has contributed to the elucidation of the mechanism of DNA replication of human viruses and to the processes that ensure accurate replication of the human genome and its associated protein structures called nucleosomes.
For these research accomplishments, Dr. Stillman has received many honors, including election as a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1993. In 1994, he was awarded the Julian Wells Medal (Australia) and in 1999, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to scientific research. Dr. Stillman was elected in 2000 to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In 2004, he was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Prize from the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation. In 2006 he received the American Cancer Society Basic Science Award from the Society of Surgical Oncology and in 2007 received the Curtin Medal from the Australian National University. He has also received four honorary doctorates.
Commenting on the election of Dr. Stillman and other new members, the Academy’s President, Emilio Bizzi, said: “We honor excellence by electing to membership remarkable men and women who have made preeminent contributions to their fields, and to the world. We are pleased to welcome into the Academy these new members to help advance our founders’ goal of cherishing knowledge and shaping the future.”
An independent policy research center, the Academy undertakes studies of complex and emerging problems. Its diverse membership of scholars and practitioners from many disciplines and professions gives the Academy a unique capacity to conduct a wide range of interdisciplinary, long-term policy research. Current studies focus on science, technology and global security; social policy and American institutions; the humanities and culture; and education.
Dr. Stillman will be inducted at a ceremony on October 11, at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a private, nonprofit research and education institution dedicated to exploring molecular biology and genetics in order to advance the understanding and ability to diagnose and treat cancers, neurological diseases and other causes of human suffering. For more information, visit www.cshl.edu.