January 12, 2023

Unprecedented National Academies Recognition

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Birmingham skyline LROn October 17, UAB announced that three Heersink School of Medicine faculty members were invited to join the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), one of the highest honors that a physician or scientist in the United States can receive.
Marie-Carmelle Elie, M.D., chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine; James Markert, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurosurgery; and Alan Tita, M.D., Ph.D., associate dean for Global and Women’s Health, director of the Mary Heersink Institute for Global Health, and professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, joined 12 current and former UAB faculty members who have been elected to the NAM.

The NAM elects no more than 90 U.S. members and 10 international members annually. 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.

National Academies faculty members elected in 2022Clockwise from top left: Marie-Carmelle Elie, James Markert, Casey Weaver, and Alan Tita.

The academy lauded Elie for being the first African American woman to chair an academic emergency department in the nation and for representing the first scholar at the crossroads of the emergency medicine, critical care, and palliative care disciplines to achieve such recognition in North America.

Markert was cited by the NAM for being a world expert on oncolytic viruses, author on a first-ever paper of genetically engineered oncolytic viruses, primary author on the first-in-human trial of an oncolytic virus, senior author on first use of an IL12-expressing virus for human glioma, and currently conducting adult and pediatric brain tumor trials.

The academy praised Tita for his work as an innovative and impactful perinatal epidemiologist and clinical researcher who leads large, collaborative, multicenter national and international trials and observational studies that have shifted practice and policy and improved the quality of national and global obstetric care.

The honors followed the May 5 announcement that Casey Weaver, M.D., professor in the Department of Pathology, had become the third faculty member in university history to be elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The NAS—sometimes called the science hall of fame—has 2,512 U.S. and 517 international members, including about 190 Nobel laureates.

For 30 years, Weaver has studied T cells, one of the critical white blood cells of the immune system in their role of protecting the body from infection and cancer. He has published more than 180 peer-reviewed papers in outstanding high-impact and prestigious journals, including Science, Nature, Cell, Nature Immunology, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Science Immunology, Nature Medicine, and eLife, and he is an author of “Janeway’s Immunobiology,” one of the leading immunology textbooks.

In other NAM news, Ellen Eaton, M.D., associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, was selected to serve as a National Academy of Medicine Emerging Leader in Health and Medicine (ELHM) Scholar for a three-year term beginning June 1, 2022. Each year, the NAM selects 10 exceptional ELHM scholars to engage around, and learn from, activities under the umbrella of the NAM, addressing topics that are currently shaping the future of health and medicine.

Eaton, who helps lead the UAB Center for Addiction and Pain Prevention and Intervention, applied to contribute to NAM priority areas around the opioid crisis and COVID-19. – Mary Ashley Canevaro, Jeff Hansen, Adam Pope, Bob Shepard