The National Academy of Sciences recently announced the election of new members and foreign associates. Four Texans were among those elected: Lora V. Hooper, Ph.D., The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Steven A. Kliewer, Ph.D., The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Ph.D., Rice University; and Moshe Y. Vardi, Ph.D., Rice University. Drs. Richards-Kortum and Vardi are also members of the National Academy of Engineering.

Lora V. Hooper, Ph.D.
Jonathan W. Uhr, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Immunology
Nancy Cain and Jeffrey A. Marcus Scholar in Medical Research, in Honor of Dr. Bill S. Vowell
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Lora V. Hooper, Ph.D.Dr. Lora Hooper has made several key discoveries about how symbiotic intestinal bacteria influence immunity and metabolism in their mammalian hosts. She and her research team continue to focus on dissecting the complex interactions that occur between resident gut bacteria and the immune system. A central goal of this research is to identify and characterize novel proteins that function to limit invasion of resident bacteria into intestinal tissues. The Hooper lab studies the immune mechanisms that limit the ability of resident bacteria to cross intestinal barriers and enter host tissues. Hooper’s research interests include carbohydrate-lectin interactions, circadian regulation of immunity, host-microbial interactionism, innate immunity, and mucosal immunology.

Dr. Hooper is an editorial board member of the journal Science. She has served on several grant review panels at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and the National Institutes of Health. Previous honors include the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award Recipient in Medicine (2013), Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in Biomedical Sciences (2000), and Genzyme Award for Thesis Research in Glycobiology (1996). In addition, she was named a Burroughs Wellcome Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease (2007) and UT Southwestern Endowed Scholar in Biomedical Research (2003).

Steven A. Kliewer, Ph.D.
Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Distinguished Chair in Basic Cancer Research
Professor, Departments of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Steven A. Kliewer, Ph.D.Dr. Steven Kliewer’s research is focused on nuclear receptors and hormone action, especially as they relate to metabolism. As a scientist at GlaxoSmithKline, he discovered that the thiazolidindione antidiabetic drugs mediate their therapeutic effects by activating the fatty acid receptor PPAR. He also discovered the xenobiotic receptor, PXR, and demonstrated that it is responsible for an important class of dangerous drug-drug interactions. At UT Southwestern, Dr. Kliewer discovered the important role of the gut hormone FGF19 in regulating bile acid synthesis in liver.

Dr. Kliewer is a member of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, as well as the Endocrine Society. He is the recipient of the Adolf Windaus Prize for Bile Acid Research (2014), Endocrine Society Ernst Oppenheimer Award (2005), Aventis Innovative Investigator Award (2004), ISSX North American New Investigator Award (2003), and ASPET John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology (2002).

Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Ph.D.
Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Rice University

Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Ph.D.For two decades, Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum has focused on translating research that integrates advances in nanotechnology and molecular imaging with microfabrication technologies to develop optical imaging systems that are inexpensive, portable, and provide point-of-care diagnosis. This basic and translational research is highly collaborative and has led to new technologies to improve the early detection of cancers and other diseases, especially in impoverished settings.

Dr. Richards-Kortum’s research has led to the development of 29 patents. She is author of the textbook Biomedical Engineering for Global Health, more than 230 refereed research papers, and 11 book chapters. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society and the National Academy of Inventors, and the Optical Society of America. In addition, she has been honored with many awards, including the 2014 Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award from the Optical Society of America, the 2013 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation, and the 2007 Chester F. Carlson Award from the American Society for Engineering Education.

Moshe Y. Vardi, Ph.D.
Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering
Director, Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Rice University

Moshe Y. Vardi, Ph.D.Dr. Moshe Vardi is a renowned expert in model checking, constraint satisfaction and database theory, common knowledge (logic), and theoretical computer science. His interests focus on automated reasoning, a branch of Artificial Intelligence with broad applications to computer science, including database theory, computational-complexity theory, knowledge in multi-agent systems, computer-aided verification, and teaching logic across the curriculum.

Dr. Vardi is the author and co-author of over 500 articles as well as two books, Reasoning about Knowledge and Finite Model Theory and Its Applications. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europaea. He is a fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Southeastern Universities Research Association’s 2013 Distinguished Scientist Award, the 2011 IEEE Computer Society Harry H. Goode Award, the 2008 Blaise Pascal Medal for Computer Science by the European Academy of Sciences, and the 2000 Goedel Prize.