Serap Aksoy, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health, is among 120 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors bestowed on a U.S. scientist or engineer.
Aksoy, Ph.D., was named to the NAS with three other Yale scientists: Hui Cao, Ph.D.; Lieping Chen, M.D., Ph.D.; and Debra Fischer, Ph.D. Aksoy, Cao and Fischer also are among a record number of 59 women elected to the academy in a single year.
“The historic number of women elected this year reflects the critical contributions that they are making in many fields of science, as well as a concerted effort by our academy to recognize those contributions and the essential value of increasing diversity in our ranks,” said Marcia McNutt, NAS president. “I am pleased to welcome all of our new members, and I look forward to engaging with them in the work of the National Academies.”
Aksoy is currently the acting chair of the Department of Epidemiology, and her research focuses on the biological and epidemiological basis of mammalian host-pathogen-insect vector interactions, particularly focusing on tsetse flies and parasitic African trypanosomes they vector.
At Yale, her laboratory focuses on the development of novel methods to ultimately reduce tsetse populations in the field, or to reduce their ability to transmit disease. Her research in Uganda is on the epidemiology of Sleeping Sickness disease, with a focus on populations genetics of flies and parasites and their endosymbionts.
“I am truly honored and thrilled to contribute to the academy as an epidemiologist studying vector-borne diseases and as a woman scientist,” Aksoy said. “I am grateful to YSPH for having supported my work for over 30 years, and consider myself very lucky to have had brilliant collaborators, students and scientists who made this achievement possible.”
Dean Sten Vermund lauded Aksoy’s selection.
“Dr. Aksoy has extraordinary service to discovery in the arena of a major neglected tropical disease, trypanosomiasis or African sleeping sickness,” he said. “Her contributions to our school and mentorship for decades of trainees, effective leadership and support for all her colleagues is now recognized with this election into our premier science honor society, the NAS.”