Dr. Steve Henikoff, an investigator in the Basic Sciences Division, was one of 72 scientists elected Tuesday to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. Henikoff is the sixth Fred Hutchinson faculty member honored by the academy.
Membership recognizes distinguished, continuing achievements in original research. Election to the academy is considered one of the highest honors for a U.S. scientist or engineer.
Other academy members at the center are Drs. Linda Buck, Mark Groudine, Lee Hartwell, E. Donnall Thomas and Bob Eisenman.
Henikoff studies chromosome structure using innovative strategies designed in his laboratory. His research has illuminated the understanding of how different domains of chromosomes in fruit flies are maintained in a "silent" state — a process that has important implications for the normal development of humans.
He is credited with helping build the infrastructure for analyzing the human genome and early on saw the potential of computing and the Internet to revolutionize biological research methods. He led the development of scientific tools that are used by researchers around the world. These include databases for conducting sequence comparisons of proteins, as well as a method known as TILLING, which allows researchers to induce and analyze mutations rapidly and on a large scale without introducing genetically modified material into organisms.
Henikoff, also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and an affiliate professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington, joined the center in 1988.