Barbara Wold (PhD '78), Bren Professor of Molecular Biology and Director and Allen V. C. Davis and Lenabelle Davis Leadership Chair of the Richard N. Merkin Institute for Translational Research, has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's oldest honorary societies. She joins 268 other new members, drawn from academia, the arts, industry, policy, research, and science.
Wold is a genome scientist whose research is focused on the discovery of how gene activity is encoded in the DNA and the development of the technologies needed to figure that out. She and her research group use genomics to understand the basis of cell identity, how it is disrupted in disease, and how it can be engineered. Her group is also active in building international functional genomics databases and computational resources.
Wold served as the director of the Beckman Institute at Caltech from 2001–11, was the founder, in 2012, of the National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Genomics, and since 2019 she has been the Director of Caltech's Merkin Institute for Translational Research. She has been a member of the Caltech faculty since 1981.
Founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and others, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences aims to serve the nation by cultivating "every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people." The academy has elected as fellows and foreign honorary members "leading thinkers and doers" from each generation, including George Washington and Ben Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Duke Ellington and Albert Einstein in the 20th.
A full list of new members is available on the academy website at www.amacad.org/members.