Prof Nancy Ip, Dean of Science, The Morningside Professor of Life Science and Director of the State Key Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), has been elected as a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The NAS is the oldest and most prestigious scientific organization in the United States that represents all disciplines of science. Membership is a mark of excellence as it is by election only, and based on distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. It is one of the highest honors bestowed by a US scientific organization.
Prof. Ip, renowned for her research in neural development and functions as well as drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, is one of 21 foreign associate elected this year. The total number of foreign associates is only 452 worldwide.
“I am greatly honored by this recognition,” she said. “This distinguished membership will further provide me with invaluable opportunities to network and collaborate with well-renowned scientists worldwide, which will significantly enhance the work we are undertaking at HKUST’s School of Science to push the frontiers of research and education in science and technology.”
HKUST President Prof Tony Chan, himself a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, was delighted with the news, “HKUST is proud to have an acclaimed scholar like Nancy. She is a role model for young people, especially young females. We hope her achievements will enlighten the young generation in Hong Kong to follow in her footsteps and pursue an exciting journey in science.”
Prof Ip has garnered numerous awards and distinctions over the years. She was elected as an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences – the highest academic honor accorded to Chinese scientists – in 2001, and Fellow of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World in 2004. In addition, she received the L’OREAL-UNESCO “For Women in Science” Award – the first Chinese honoree in life sciences – in 2004. She was awarded the National Natural Science Award – the highest honor in natural sciences in China – in 2003 and 2011. Additionally, she was bestowed the title and rank of “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite” (National Order of Merit) by the French Government in 2011 in recognition of her scientific contributions to the community and her constant support to establish cooperation between France, Hong Kong and Mainland China in science and higher education.
Prof Ip is well-known for her seminal discoveries in the biology of neurotrophic factors, which are proteins that promote the survival, development, and maintenance of neurons in the nervous system. She has made important contributions towards the understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying brain development and synaptic plasticity, and their dysregulation in neurological disorders, which have led to the identification of drug leads for brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease from Chinese medicine. Prof Ip also plays a significant role in the development of biotechnology in Hong Kong, and has led HKUST in many prominent collaborations with major biopharmaceutical companies.
As a world-leading neuroscientist, Prof Ip holds 23 patents and has published over 250 scientific papers in prominent journals with over 17,000 SCI citations. She received her PhD degree in Pharmacology from Harvard University.
NAS is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievements in science by election to membership, and – with the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council – provides science, technology, and health policy advice to the US government and other organizations. With this latest election, there are now 2,250 active NAS members of whom approximately 200 have received Nobel prizes.
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