Whitehead Institute Member Yukiko Yamashita Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Whitehead Institute Member Yukiko Yamashita has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAAS).
Election to the membership of AAAS — an independent policy organization with initiatives in science, arts, democracy, education, and global affairs — is one of the nation’s most prestigious recognitions of highly accomplished individuals. The 2023 class of AAAS members are drawn from the realms of academia, research, science, the arts, industry, and public policy.
“It is an extraordinary honor to have been elected to the American Academy alongside such an illustrious group of researchers, artists, and leaders,” says Yamashita. “As my laboratory colleagues and I follow the leads that our data provide, we often find ourselves in a weird corner of science and we wonder whether our discoveries there will have any relevance to human kind at all. But this recognition by AAAS gives us a bit of validation that it is, indeed, important to believe in discovery science and that we should continue to move beyond our comfort zones.”
In addition to leading her highly productive and innovative laboratory at Whitehead Institute, Yamashita is Professor of Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. A 2011 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, Yamashita also holds the Institute’s Susan Lindquist Chair for Women in Science.
The Yamashita Lab studies the mechanisms that regulate asymmetric stem cell division, and their implications for the continuity of germline lineage and diseases including cancer. Her team has also been advancing researchers’ understanding of the function of satellite DNA, which was long regarded by scientists as genomic junk. The lab’s recent discoveries suggest that satellite DNA plays a critical role in packaging the full complement of chromosomes into a single nucleus.
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