Blavatnik Award Winner Ruslan Medzhitov Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

The Yale professor of immunobiology was chosen for his original research in innate immunity.

In recognition of his prolific contributions to the field of immunological research, New York Academy of Sciences member and Blavatnik Award winner Ruslan Medzhitov has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Medzhitov is the David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology at Yale and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He was elected for his pioneering research on the innate immune system.

Medzhitov joined Yale in 1994 as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of the late Charles A. Janeway, Jr. As a graduate student at Moscow State University, Medzhitov was fascinated by a new theory regarding the interaction of the innate and adaptive immune systems that Janeway had proposed. Several years later, the two researchers made the groundbreaking discovery that Toll-like receptors, a component of the innate system, provide the adaptive system with the necessary information to create custom-made B and T cells that target specific bacterial or viral invaders.

Since then, Toll-like receptors have become the subject of intense research activity in laboratories around the world. In December, Professor Medzhitov was awarded the 2010 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Science.

Medzhitov was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and earned a bachelors of science degree at Tashkent State University before going on to pursue a PhD in biochemistry at Moscow State University. Before joining the Yale faculty, he was a fellow in the laboratory of Russell Doolittle at the University of California, San Diego. He will be inducted into the NAS next April during its 148th annual meeting in Washington, DC.