John Werren, the Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Professor of Biology, has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the academy’s membership includes scientists, politicians, businesspeople, and artists.
Werren is a leading expert in evolutionary genetics. His research combines genetic, molecular, and population studies to investigate diverse topics in biology. His studies on the genetic basis of shape and size differences between closely related insect species has uncovered mechanisms of growth regulation, which may eventually lead to a better understanding of diseases that involve inappropriate growth, such as cancer. Werren’s research comparing genomes revealed that some animals routinely acquire genes from their bacterial associates—a mechanism that may be important for the evolution of genetic novelty in animals, and which may lead to new genetic targets for pest control. Werren was recently the recipient of an NIH Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration (EUREKA) grant to explore the venoms of parasitic wasps as a possible resource for new drug discovery.
Werren will be inducted at an Oct. 6 ceremony at the academy’s headquarters.