Bonnie Berger one of three from MIT elected to the National Academy of Sciences for 2020

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Prof. Bonnie Berger

On April 27, the National Academy of Sciences elected 120 new members and 26 international associates, including three professors from MIT — Abhijit Banerjee, Bonnie Berger, and Roger Summons — recognizing their “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” Current membership totals 2,403 active members and 501 international associates, including 190 Nobel Prize recipients.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution for scientific advancement established in 1863 by congressional charter and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. Together, with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine, the 157-year-old society provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

Bonnie Berger is the Simons Professor of Mathematics and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is the head of the Computation and Biology group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). She is also a faculty member of the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology and an associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard .

After beginning her career working in algorithms at MIT, Berger was one of the pioneer researchers in the area of computational molecular biology and, together with the many students she has mentored, has been instrumental in defining the field. Her work addresses biological and biomedical questions by using computation in support of or in place of laboratory procedures, with a goal being to get more accurate answers at a greatly reduced cost. Combining genomic and health-related data from millions of patients will empower unprecedented insights into human health and disease risk. Berger transforms and creates techniques from algorithmic thinking to provide novel computational methods and software to enable biomedical data sharing and analysis at scale.

Berger is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Association for Computing Machinery, International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and American Mathematical Society. Recently she was recognized by ISCB with their Accomplishments by a Senior Scientist Award. She received the NIH Margaret Pittman Director’s Award, the SIAM Sonya Kovalevsky Lecture Prize, and an honorary doctorate from EPFL. Earlier in her career, she received an NSF Career Award, the Biophysical Society’s Dayhoff Award, and recognition as MIT Technology Review magazine’s inaugural TR100 top young innovators. She serves as vice president of ISCB, head of the steering committee for Research in Computational Molecular Biology, and member-at-large of the Section on Mathematics at American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), as well as on multiple advisory committees and editorial boards.

Original article appeared in the MIT News on May 1, 2020.

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