Two Johns Hopkins University faculty members have been
elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, part
of a class of 175 new academy fellows that also includes
two former U.S. presidents, the chief justice of the United
States and director Martin Scorsese, the academy announced
Announcement of the election of Johns Hopkins
biochemist Cecile M. Pickart to the academy comes just
weeks after her death April 5 at age 51. The professor of
biochemistry and molecular biology in the
Bloomberg School of Public
Health had suffered from kidney cancer.
Also honored by the academy was Jack Greene, the
Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities emeritus in
the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and an expert on
early American history.
The election of the two, had Pickart lived, would have
brought to 39 the total of active Johns Hopkins members of
the academy, which, according to its president, Patricia
Meyer Spacks, recognizes "individuals who have made
pre-eminent contributions to their disciplines and to
society at large."
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded
in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and
other scholar-patriots. Its fellows have included
intellectuals and influential leaders from each generation,
including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the
18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the
19th, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the
20th. The current membership includes more than 170 Nobel
laureates and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners.
Other fellows elected this year include former
Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; Chief Justice
John Roberts; the chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11
commission, former Gov. Thomas Kean, R-N.J., and former
Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind.; director Martin Scorsese; and
conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. In addition to the 175 new
fellows, 20 new foreign honorary members were elected.
Pickart focused her research on the role of ubiquitin,
an essential protein involved in critical cellular
processes, including the repair of DNA. Ubiquitin searches
the body for damaged or misshapen proteins and signals them
for destruction. The goal in understanding how ubiquitin
works is to assist in the development of drugs for
prevention or treatment of diseases including cancer,
Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's.
Greene, an expert on early American history, has
published 16 books, including Pursuits of Happiness
(1988), which challenged the notion that American culture
was largely a derivative of New England culture;
Peripheries and Center (1986), which examined the
foundations of governance in British America; and The
Intellectual Construction of America (1993), which
investigated the roots of the idea of America as an
In 2000, he was honored by a three-day scholarly
conference of former students from his more than 35 years
at Johns Hopkins.
"During his years as a professor of early American
history at Hopkins, Jack Greene trained more than 75
graduate students," said Gabrielle Spiegel, chair of the
History Department and acting dean of faculty in the
Krieger School. "Many of those students went on to become
prominent historians themselves. His influence is felt,
therefore, in every corner of the country and throughout
its research universities," Spiegel said.