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May 05, 2014

Prof. Michael N. Hall - new member of the “National Academy of Sciences”

The biochemist, Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, has been elected as member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of his significant research contributions in the field of cell biology. With his discovery of the regulatory protein TOR – Target of Rapamycin – he uncovered fundamental mechanisms of cell growth and cancer development. Joining the ranks of the NAS is one of the greatest honors to be bestowed on a scientist.

Prof. Michael N. Hall

Michael N. Hall, Professor at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, was elected on April 29th, 2014, by the United States National Academy of Sciences to become a new member. Besides Hall, 104 further scientists including 21 foreign nonvoting associates  from 15 countries received the distinction this year for their outstanding and pioneering achievements. 

Hall began his research at the Biozentrum 27 years ago as a young assistant professor and discovered the enzyme “Target of Rapamycin”, TOR for short, at the institute in 1991. TOR plays an important role in regulating cell growth, cell size and cell division in simple organisms such as yeast but also in man and is involved in disease processes such as cancer development, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Supported by a Synergy Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), Hall, together with three other scientists from the University of Basel and the ETH Zurich, is currently studying what happens in cells, when tumors become resistant to cancer drugs. 

The biochemist has published his work in over 160 journal articles and publications and has received many awards including the Cloëtta Prize (2003), the Louis-Jeantet Prize (2009), the Marcel Benoist Prize (2012) as well as the "Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences 2014". He is a member of numerous advisory and editorial boards and scientific societies such as the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The NAS was founded as early as 1863 and is one of the organizations comprising the United States National Academies. New members are elected after an extensive selection process by NAS members. The sole criterion for nomination is scientific excellence. Since this year’s election, the NAS membership totals 2214 active and 444 nonvoting foreign associate members, amongst them some 200 Nobel Prize laureates. From the Biozentrum, Prof. em. Walter Gehring, Prof. em. Gottfried Schatz and Prof. em. Werner Arber, Nobel Prize laureate in 1978, have all been honored with joining the ranks of this distinguished society.

Contact: Communications, Katrin Bühler