L&S Professor Abby Dernburg elected to National Academy of Sciences

May 2, 2024

At the conclusion of its annual gathering this week, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced the election of 120 new members and 24 new international members, among them UC Berkeley's Abby Dernburg, professor of molecular and cell biology and a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

Also elected was Ramamoorthy Ramesh, a professor of materials science and mineral engineering and of physics who recently took a leave of absence to serve as executive vice president for research at Rice University in Houston, Texas. 

The NAS, which provides scientific advice to the federal government and other organizations, recognizes scientists each year who have made distinguished and continuing contributions in original research.

Dernburg studies chromosomes as they go through meiosis, the critical stage in sexually- reproducing organisms when germ cells divide and split the chromosomes in half to produce sperm or egg cells. Working primarily with a nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, she and her lab colleagues use genetics, genomics and high-resolution 4D microscopy to understand how chromosomes find their partners and exchange DNA sequences. Her recent work has illuminated longstanding mysteries, such as how meiotic cells make sure that chromosomes pair up properly and the mechanisms that regulate the patterning of meiotic recombination, which underlies both sexual reproduction and genome evolution.