New Board of Scientific Advisors Announced

February 2, 2017
Three new members of the Board of Scientific Advisors bring unique expertise

The JCC is pleased to welcome three new members of the Board of Scientific Advisors:

Sandra Schmid, Professor and Chairman in Cellular and Molecular Biology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, studies clathrin-mediated endocytosis and the GTPase Dynamin and has published more than 130 research articles. Previously, Schmid studied at the University of British Columbia and Stanford University. After her postdoctoral fellowship at Yale, she went on to become a professor at The Scripps Research Institute, where she worked for 23 years. She also co-founded the journal Traffic, served as Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Biology of the Cell and led the American Society for Cell Biology as President. In addition to many other honors, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015. When Schmid was recruited to UT Southwestern in 2013, she reformed hiring practices in her department to shift away from the “singular artificial CV filter of high-impact journals, awards, and pedigree” and toward an evaluation of qualities such as passion, perseverance, and creativity. “Looking more closely at what candidates have accomplished and their future plans over where they published is working out well for us,” she says. “I’m similarly encouraging my junior faculty not to be unnecessarily delayed  in communicating their findings and demotivated by tedious review processes. The resulting more rapid publication of advances has garnered them more rapid success in obtaining NIH funding.” Schmid adds, “I’m honored and excited to be a new member of the Board of Scientific Advisors as there is nothing more worthwhile that recognizing and mentoring the next generation of scientific leaders. With its annual meeting, I believe a JCC’s fellowship provides both.”  

Catherine Dulac, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University, studies the molecular and cellular architecture of neuronal circuits involved in social interactions in mice. During her postdoc at Columbia University with Richard Axel, Dulac searched for pheromone receptors within the nasal cavity’s vomeronasal organ (a structure at the base of the nasal cavity) and developed a new technology to generate libraries of complementary DNA in individual neurons. Once at Harvard, she identified more pheromone receptor families and discovered that, contrary to assumptions, the the vomeronasal organ is needed for sex discrimination. She later found that neuronal circuits underlying male-specific behaviors are present in the female mouse brain, but the vomeronasal organ acts to repress male behaviors and activate female ones, discrediting the idea that male and female brains are distinct. Dulac earned her PhD in developmental biology at the University of Paris. Among her many honors, she was named a Searl Scholar and won the National Academy of Sciences’  Richard Lounsbery Award. She is also a fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Ralph Isberg, HHMI Investigator and Professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Tufts University, develops genetic and biochemical tools to determine how invasive microbes grow inside human cells, avoid detection by the immune system, and spread through the body. Tuberculosis, common sexually transmitted diseases, and some foodborne illnesses are caused by these types of intracellular microorganisms. Isberg and his research group study Legionella pneumophilia, which causes Legionnaire’s pneumonia. This microorganism avoids the host immune response by hiding within macrophage immune cells, safe inside a replication vacuole enveloped in membrane recruited from the rough endoplasmic reticulum. Isberg also studies a foodborne pathogen, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, which forms distinct microcolonies as it spreads throughout the body. Isberg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Microbiology.