Rutgers faculty among 100 new members nationwide


Gabriel Kotliar wants to find new materials with useful properties – solids that will harvest wasted heat from industrial processes or combustion engines and turn it into electricity. Masayori Inouye’s discoveries have led to new drugs for those with cancer and AIDS.

Kotliar, a Board of Governors Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and Inouye, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

They join 98 other new members and 25 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and ongoing achievements in original research. 

To reach his goal, Kotliar develops basic theory, which describes the properties of materials, specializing in strongly correlated materials, that have potential for extraordinary properties. These theories are currently used to make the batteries that power everything from radios and televisions to cell phones and the magnets used in MRI machines. His goal, besides satisfying the basic intellectual curiosity of how things work, is to use theory and computer simulations to accelerate the discovery of better and more useful materials for these technologies. 

“We take these things for granted,” Kotliar said. “We don’t think about the unique combinations of lithium cobalt and oxygen that power your cell phone or that without silicon, the basic material used to make computer chips, we wouldn’t have the computers that are all around us.”

Kotliar was an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow from 1986 to 1988; received a Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1987, a Lady Davies Fellowship in 1994 and 2011 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003; was appointed Board of Governors Professor in 2004 and the Blaise Pascal Chair in 2005; and received the Agilent Technologies Europhysics Prize in 2006 and a Humboldt fellowship in 2019. He has been a general board member of the Aspen Center for Physics (2006 – 2016) and is currently a member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. He has been a visiting professor at the Ecole Normale and the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has been a fellow of the American Physical Society since 2001 and has coauthored more than 350 publications in refereed journals.

Inouye, from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is a leading scientist in the field of molecular biology and biochemistry. He joined the medical school in 1987 as chair and professor of biochemistry, a position he held until 2007. In 2008, he was appointed Distinguished Professor and currently is a resident member of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine.

Inouye has made a number of important discoveries in life science. His pioneering contributions are represented by his more than 650 publications. His research has led to significant advances in the fields of protein folding, bacterial stress response and gene regulation. Most notably, in 1984 Inouye discovered a new principle of gene regulation by RNA, which opened an unprecedented avenue for engineering gene expression from bacteria to humans. His work has had a significant impact on the development of therapeutic methods for cancer and AIDS.

“This high honor speaks to the achievements of Rutgers faculty members who are creating great benefits for our students and for society as a whole through their groundbreaking research and excellence in education,” said Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution established under a Congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and, with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine, provides science, engineering and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

“Election to the National Academy of Sciences is one of the most prestigious honors a scientist can receive,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “We are proud that the work being done by our researchers has been recognized in this way by the academy."

The complete list of new NAS members is available on the academy’s website.