Four members of the Cornell and Weill Cornell Medical College faculty and administration have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
They are Antonio M. Gotto Jr., the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and provost of medical affairs, and from Cornell's Ithaca campus: Jonathan Culler, senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of English and comparative literature; Thomas Seeley, professor of neurobiology and behavior; and Eva Tardos, professor of computer science.
Now in its 221st year, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors distinguished scientists, scholars and leaders in public affairs, business, administration and the arts. The academy boasts 3,700 fellows and 600 honorary foreign members. The four new fellows will be inducted during academy ceremonies to be held in October.
Gotto is a world-renowned authority in the field of cardiovascular medicine. He and his associates were the first to achieve the complete synthesis of a significant plasma apoplipoprotein (apoC-I), and they also determined the complete cDNA and amino acid sequence of apo B-100, one of the largest proteins ever sequenced and a key protein in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
Gotto became dean at Weill Cornell after two decades at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Among his contributions since he joined Weill Cornell are his continuing insights into the benefits of the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs for cardiac primary prevention and the potential predictive value of certain apolipoproteins that are major components of LDL and HDL, the so-called bad and good cholesterols, respectively.
At Weill Cornell, Gotto has either implemented or brought to fruition a Strategic Research Plan, which will markedly expand the school's research effort; a new problem-based, student-centered curriculum; a new state-of-the-art education center; and an increased donor base and school endowment. In a break from precedent, he has led Cornell and the medical college into an extraordinary commitment to build and operate a whole new branch of the medical college in the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar.
Gotto received his B.A., magna cum laude, in biochemistry in 1957 from Vanderbilt University; his D.Phil. in biochemistry in 1961 from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar; and his M.D. in 1965 from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He did his residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
He has served as national president of the American Heart Association, as a member of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Advisory Council and on the National Diabetes Advisory Board, among many other associations. He has received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Bologna and Abilene Christian University and honorary professorships from the University of Buenos Aires and Francisco Marroquin University (Guatemala). He was awarded the prestigious Order of the Lion from the Republic of Finland.
His original scholarly articles number close to 400. He also is co-author, with Dr. Michael DeBakey, of The Living Heart and The New Living Heart Diet, and author of The Living Heart Cookbook.
Culler, a literary theorist, earned a bachelor of arts degree in history and literature at Harvard in 1966; a B.Phil. in comparative literature (1968); and, a D.Phil. in modem languages (1972), both at the University of Oxford. He taught at the University of Cambridge, Oxford and Yale before coming to Cornell in 1977. In 1982 he was awarded an endowed chair as the Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature. He served as the director of the Society for the Humanities at Cornell from 1984 to 1993 and as the chair of the Department of Comparative Literature (1993-96) and of the Department of English (1996-99).
Culler also is the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship and subsequently of the James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association of America and of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He currently is president of the American Comparative Literature Association and is the author of several seminal texts in his field, including On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism (1982), Framing the Sign: Criticism and Its Institutions (1992) and Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (1997). His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
A member of the Cornell faculty since 1986, Seeley teaches courses in animal communication, behavior, biology of social insects and major transitions in evolution. Seeley earned an A.B. in chemistry (1974) at Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. in biology (1978) at Harvard University. He was in the Society of Fellows at Harvard, 1978-80, and taught at Yale University, 1980-86, before joining the neurobiology and behavior faculty at Cornell as an assistant professor.
Other honors to Seeley include a 2001 Alexander von Humboldt Research Award, regarded as the most prestigious scientific prize given by Germany to foreign scholars. The award will take Seeley to the University of Wrtzburg, where he will conduct studies of communication among bees via substrate (honeycomb) vibrations and write a biography of the German scientist Martin Lindauer, whose observations of the social physiology of honey bees laid the foundation for Seeley's work.
Eva Tardos studied mathematics at the Etvs University in Budapest, Hungary, and received her Ph.D. in mathematics there in 1984. After teaching at Etvs University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she joined the Cornell faculty in 1989. During her years at Cornell, she has been awarded several prestigious fellowships. From 1990 to 1995, she was a David and Lucille Packard Fellow in Science and Engineering; from 1991 to 1993, she had a Sloan Fellowship; and from 1991 to 1996, she had a Presidential Young Investigator award from the National Science Foundation. In May of 1998, she was elected a fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). In 1999 she received a Guggenheim fellowship, which she used for sabbatical research and study at the University of California-Berkeley in the 1999-2000 school year.
She is editor of SIAM Journal of Computing, Combinatorica, the Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science and the Journal of Interconnection Networks. And she is area editor of Discrete Optimization for Mathematics of Operations.
Tardos' research focuses on "combinatorial" problems, in which the goal is to find the most efficient or least expensive arrangement of complex systems. These problems are found in such activities as designing and managing communication networks or planning airline schedules. The challenge is to avoid brute force testing of every possible arrangement and quickly find the best (or nearly best) solution.