“This distinguished and diverse class of new members is a truly exceptional group of scholars and leaders whose expertise in science, medicine, health, and policy will be integral to helping the NAM address today’s most pressing health challenges and inform the future of health and health care for the benefit of everyone around the globe,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau. “It is my privilege to welcome these esteemed individuals to the National Academy of Medicine.”
New members are elected by current members through a process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health. A diversity of talent among NAM’s membership is assured by its Articles of Organization, which stipulate that at least one-quarter of the membership is selected from fields outside the health professions — for example, from such fields as law, engineering, social sciences, and the humanities.
Established originally as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine, and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors. NAM works alongside the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding of STEMM. With their election, NAM members make a commitment to volunteer their service in National Academies activities.
Henry L. Paulson, M.D., Ph.D., is the Lucile Groff Professor of Neurology for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders in the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Paulson joined the U-M faculty in 2007, and currently directs the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center and co-directs the U-M Protein Folding Diseases Initiative.
Dr. Paulson received his medical degree and doctorate in Cell Biology from Yale University in 1990. He then completed a neurology residency and neurogenetics/movement disorders fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1997, he joined the Neurology faculty at the University of Iowa, where he remained until 2007.
Dr. Paulson’s research and clinical interests concern the causes and treatment of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, with an emphasis on polyglutamine diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. In 1997, his lab described abnormal protein aggregates in the polyglutamine diseases, which now are recognized as a pathological hallmark in this important class of inherited diseases. Using test tube, cell-based and animal models, he has contributed to advances in the understanding of various neurodegenerative diseases. His lab also has helped pioneer the use of gene silencing methods as potential therapy for the many neurological disorders caused by “toxic” mutant genes.
Nationally, Dr. Paulson has served on the scientific advisory boards of numerous disease-related national organizations, and is a past Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health.
Among his awards, Dr. Paulson is an Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging, a semifinalist for the W.M. Keck Foundation Young Scholars in Medical Research, a recipient of the Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholar in Aging Award from the American Federation for Aging Research, and a 2020 recipient of both the NIH Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship and the American Academy of Neurology Movement Disorders Research Award.
Dr. Paulson is being elected to the National Academy of Medicine for his work in making fundamental discoveries regarding protein aggregation and nucleotide repeat expansions as causes of neurodegenerative diseases, and pioneering novel therapeutic strategies, including nucleotide-based gene silencing and harnessing the cell’s own quality-control machinery, for this group of devastating disorders.
For the official press release from the National Academy of Medicine, click here.