May 23, 1996
Vol. 15, No. 18

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    Clayton, Fuchs among new NAS members

    Two University faculty members -- Robert Clayton, the Enrico Fermi Distinguished Service Professor in Chemistry and Geophysical Sciences, and Elaine Fuchs, the Amgen Professor in Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology -- have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. They are among 51 University faculty members who are current members of the academy.

    The NAS, established by Congress in 1863, is a private organization of scientists and engineers that serves as an official advisory body to the federal government in matters of science and technology. Sixty new members were elected last month, bringing the total number of active members to 1,760.

    Clayton studies the isotopic abundances of extraterrestrial meteorites in an effort to understand more about the chemical processes that shaped them and where they might have originated. In 1992, by studying Martian meteorites, Clayton and his colleagues showed that Mars probably once had water on its surface or in its atmosphere. He also studies isotopic abundance variations in terrestrial rocks to learn more about the geochemical cycling of carbon and nitrogen through Earth's crust and mantle.

    A Chicago faculty member since 1958, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Society of London and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Fuchs studies the genes that control the growth and development of skin. She is particularly interested in keratin fibers -- proteins that make up the framework of the surface and lining cells of the body -- and she has linked several human skin diseases to defects in the genes for these proteins.

    Fuchs, who joined the University faculty in 1980, was named one of the nation's brightest scientists under the age of 40 by Science Digest in 1984, and she was honored as one of the nation's outstanding scientists by the White House in 1985. She is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.