Prestigious honor for UVA School of Medicine scientist

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A University of Virginia School of Medicine scientist has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, which is one of the highest honors for a scientist.

Edward H. Egelman, PhD, is among 100 new members of the academy, bringing the number of active members to 2,347.

“This is an amazing honor,” he said. “It is truly gratifying to have my work receive such recognition.”

According to a release, Egleman is the Harrison Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics where he works on using cryo-electron microscopy and 3-D modeling to make out a world too small for light microscopes to see.

He has made headlines in the past for research projects on topics such as how urinary tract infections take hold and how an almost indestructible virus can survive in nearly boiling acid.

A more recent paper looked at a bacterium that live in soil and sediment can conduct electricity, which could pave the way for tiny-but-ultrapowerful batteries and maybe pacemakers without wires.

Egelman's research primarily looks into protein-DNA interactions inside cells, specifically a protein called actin.

After developing techniques to determine the atomic structure of spiral-shaped structures commonly found in nature, the scope of his work expanded.

Such structures can be found in various places, including the hair-like pilli on the surface of bacteria.

Anindya Dutta, MD, PhD and chairman of Egelman's department, dubbed him “the world's go-to-person” to develop imaging and mathematical tools that can be used to understand filaments formed by DNA and proteins.

Egelman has written more than 230 papers and has lectured internationally.

He came to UVA in 1999.

“Dr. Egelman's election to the National Academy of Sciences is a wonderful recognition of his long track record of outstanding research,” Said David S. Wilkes, MD, the dean of the UVA School of Medicine. “We are proud to have him as part of the School of Medicine and we are excited to see what discoveries he makes next.”

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