UNM School of Medicine Molecular and Microbiology Professor Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Jesse Summers, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the UNM School of Medicine, was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Members are chosen in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be given to a scientist.

"It is with great pleasure and distinct honor to announce that Professor Summers was elected to the National Academy of Sciences this is nearly the level as receiving a Nobel Prize," said Jac Nickoloff, Ph.D., chair of the Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Department. "UNM is fortunate to have a researcher of this caliber on its team."

Since 1975, Summers has been involved in the study of hepadnaviruses the virus that causes hepatitis B in humans, known as HBV. Through his research, he identified hepatitis B viruses specific for other animal species and has shown how they are related to HBV and how they reproduce themselves in the liver.

While at UNM, Summers has developed a set of methods for studying the molecular biology of hepadnavirus in the laboratory, and has used these methods to provide important new insight into the biology and pathogenesis of the virus.

Prior to arriving at UNM in 1988, Summers served as scientific director at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pa. He has won three international awards for his research on HBV including the Charles A. Mott Prize from the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation, the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor and the William Beaumont Prize from the American Gastroenterological Society.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific research, dedicated to furthering science and technology.
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