Dr. Ronald Breaker & Dr. Frederick Sigworth Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Ronald Breaker and Frederick Sigworth
May 6, 2021

Two MB&B faculty members, Dr. Ronald Breaker & Dr. Frederick Sigworth, were elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAAS) this month.

Dr. Breaker’s research group, located in the Yale Science Building, studies noncoding RNAs that form ribozymes and riboswitches. As described on the lab’s website, Dr. Breaker’s group “employs a wide range of bioinformatics, genetics, and biochemical techniques to discover and study these functional RNAs - some of which might be ‘molecular relics’ from primitive life forms that have been extinct for billions of years.” Dr. Breaker has been a faculty member at Yale since 1995. He is a Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, Professor of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Dr. Sigworth’s research group, located in the Sterling Hall of Medicine, studies the function and structure of ion channels. In particular they investigate voltage sensing mechanisms and conformational changes in response to ligand binding, and they develop technologies that enable this research such as patch-clamp systems and cryo-EM techniques. As the lab’s website states, Dr. Sigworth’s group is “pursuing technical advances in electron microscopy of frozen single-molecule specimens (single-particle cryo-EM) and the mathematical reconstruction of 3D structures from electron microscope images.” Dr. Sigworth’s work on maximum likelihood approaches for high-resolution cryo-EM, published in 1998, was a critical advancement that significantly contributed to the recent cryo-EM resolution revolution. Dr. Sigworth earned his PhD in physiology from Yale, and returned as a faculty member in 1984. He is a Professor of Cellular & Molecular Physiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry.

As stated in their mission, AAAS “honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work together to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.” The academy was founded in 1780.

Breaker Lab website: https://breaker.yale.edu/

Sigworth Lab website: https://medicine.yale.edu/lab/sigworth/

AAAS website: https://www.amacad.org/about-academy

Link to YSM News article: https://medicine.yale.edu/news-article/american-academy-of-arts-and-science-elects-five-from-school-of-medicine/

By: Melanie Reschke