The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring, explaining and sustaining life on Earth. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, as well as innovative programs in scientific research and education—all under one living roof.
Award ceremony to take place on November 15, 2016
© California Academy of Sciences
SAN FRANCISCO (November 13, 2016) — The California Academy of Sciences is pleased to announce that 10 new members have joined the ranks of the Academy Fellows, a governing group of more than 400 distinguished scientists who have made notable contributions to one or more of the natural sciences. Nominated by their colleagues and selected by the Board of Trustees, the Academy Fellows remain members of the Fellowship for life. The new members will be inducted during the Fellowship's next meeting on November 15, 2016. They will join such well-known Academy Fellows as Sylvia Earle, Paul Ehrlich, John Holdren, Peter Raven, John McCosker, and Jill Tarter.
During the meeting, the Fellowship will also present three of its members with the Academy’s highest honors: the Fellows Medal and the Distinguished Service Award. The Fellows Medal is given to especially prominent scientists who have made outstanding contributions to their specific scientific fields. Medalists are nominated each year by the Academy Fellows and confirmed by the Board of Trustees. This year's Medal will be awarded to Sandra Faber, renowned astronomer and Professor Emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz, for her pioneering research on the formation and evolution of galaxies.
Elizabeth “Liebe” Patterson and the late Norman Penny, this year’s Distinguished Service Award recipients, are honored for their tireless years of Academy service. Brief biographies for the Fellows Medal and Distinguished Service Award recipients as well as each of the new Fellows are included below.
New Academy Fellows
Nathalie A. Cabrol
Dr. Cabrol is a Senior Research Scientist and Director of the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute. In addition to developing their strategic vision for science, she leads projects in planetary science and astrobiology, designs robotic field experiments, and develops science exploration strategies for Mars, Titan, and the Outer Solar System icy moons. With her team, she documents life’s adaptation to extreme environments, the effect of rapid climate change on lake ecosystems and habitats, its geobiological signatures, and relevance to planetary exploration. An author of several books and recipient of many awards and honors, Cabrol regularly communicates with the public about planetary science, exploration, and astrobiology.
Dr. Daly is a professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at Ohio State University. Focusing on sea anemones, her research program explores three interrelated topics: the diversity of Actiniarian sea anemones, the causes and effects of this diversity, and the data and methods used to describe it. Daly runs an active field program, and uses both molecular and morphological data to solve fascinating evolutionary questions. Daly also serves as the Director of the Fish Collection at the Museum of Biological Diversity at Ohio State University. She received both her Bachelor of Science and PhD from George Washington University.
Dr. David, former CNRS Director of Research at the Biogéosciences laboratory in Dijon, is President of the French National Museum of Natural History. Originally trained as a geologist and a paleontologist, his works focus on the evolution of living forms with regards to patterns and processes. His biological models of choice are echinoderms (with a special focus on echinoids). In addition to participating in several marine expeditions, David has written a book and edited an extensive online database of Antarctic echinoids. He received his PhD in paleontology at the University of Franche-Comté (Besançon) and a Doctorat d’Etat ès Sciences in paleontology and evolutionary biology at the University of Burgundy (Dijon).
Dr. Holl is a professor of Environmental Studies and Faculty Director of the Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History at UC Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on understanding how local- and landscape-scale processes impact ecosystem recovery from human disturbance, and how this information can help restore damaged ecosystems. She conducts research in Latin American rainforests, and chaparral, grassland and riparian systems in California. Selected as an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow in 2008, Holl is a dedicated science communicator and teacher committed to lending her expertise to the next generation of scientists. She received her PhD from Virginia Tech and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University.
Margaret Sandra Leinen
Dr. Leinen is an ocean biogeochemist and paleoceanographer whose research includes the study of ocean carbon cycling and the role of the oceans in climate. She is Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography—a world-renowned, 111-year-old institution—and Vice Chancellor for Marine Science at UC San Diego. Leinen serves as President of the American Geophysical Union, the largest geoscience society in the world, and has also served as the President of The Oceanography Society and Chair of the AAAS Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Science. From 2000–2007, she served as Assistant Director for Geosciences for NSF. Leinen received her PhD in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island.
Patrick Michael O’Grady
Dr. O’Grady is a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources. He is interested in the fascinating patterns and processes that generate and maintain biological diversity. O’Grady’s laboratory investigates a wide range of biological disciplines—including morphology and taxonomy, phylogenetic systematics, population genetics, molecular evolution, and genomics—to examine the evolutionary history of endemic Hawaiian insects. He has described a whopping 80 species and has two taxa named after him: a leafhopper (Cicadellidae: Nesophrosyne) and a long-legged fly (Dolichopodidae: Campsicnemus). O’Grady received his PhD in genetics at the University of Arizona.
Robert E. Page, Jr.
Dr. Page has substantially contributed to our understanding of the fundamental and applied biology of social insects. Using the honeybee as a model, Page has dissected their complex division of labor at all levels—from gene networks to complex social interactions. His work has led to the development of model honey bee breeding programs implemented worldwide. After retiring as UC Davis’ Chair of Entomology in 2004, Page served in several administrative roles at the Arizona State University. Page is the recipient of several fellowship appointments and awards, including the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award in 1995.
Ravinder N.M. Sehgal
Dr. Sehgal is a professor in the Department of Biology at San Francisco State University where he teaches courses in parasitology and emerging infectious diseases. His research focuses on the ecology of parasitic diseases in birds—including, for example, how deforestation affects the prevalence and diversity of avian malaria in African rainforest birds. Aside from researching climate connections to avian malaria in Alaska, Sehgal is currently documenting how logging for palm oil plantations in Cameroon impacts the biodiversity of mosquitoes and their malaria parasites. A committed teacher and conservation biologist, Sehgal received his PhD in cell biology from UC San Francisco.
Ronald D. Vale
Dr. Vale is a professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UC San Francisco and longtime Investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The founder of iBiology, a free science learning website, Vale studies the molecular motors that power the movement of membranes and chromosomes inside of cells as well as the role of the cytoskeleton in cell division and cell shape. Vale's honors include the Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the Pfizer Award in enzyme chemistry, and election to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received his undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara and his PhD from Stanford University.
Erika S. Zavaleta
Dr. Zavaleta is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz as well as the founder and faculty leader for the university’s Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program. Her research group studies the drivers and consequences of changing biological diversity and climate, and the role of ecology in guiding effective conservation and climate change adaptation practice. A teacher, NGO board member, and author of countless articles, reports, and book chapters that bridge ecology and management practice, Zavaleta’s recent project—Ecosystems of California, a book she co-edited—is nominated for a 2017 American Publishers PROSE Award. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Stanford University.
Fellows Medal Award
Sandra M. Faber
Dr. Faber is a renowned astronomer and Professor Emerita at UC Santa Cruz. Her remarkable work focuses on using the lookback power of large telescopes to study the formation and evolution of galaxies. She utilizes ground-based optical data obtained with the Lick 3-meter and Keck 10-meter telescopes, and helped create the CANDELS project—the largest survey of the universe undertaken by the Hubble Space Telescope. This incredibly rich database provides unique material for studying every aspect of galaxy evolution, from mass assembly to star-formation. Faber’s multifaceted projects—including the DEEP2 survey of 50,000 distant galaxies—often include the participation of her former students. A highly visible public scholar and student mentor, Faber received her PhD from Harvard University.
Fellows Distinguished Service Award
Elizabeth “Liebe” Patterson
Patterson is President of the Elizabeth R. and William J. Patterson Foundation, which seeks to contribute to a sustainable future through support of environmental, educational, and healthy community initiatives. She serves on the Board of the California Academy of Sciences and is a member of the Academy’s Executive and Education Committees. She provides critical support the Academy’s “Patterson Scholars in Science and Sustainability,” endowed chairs named in honor of the late William J. Patterson, Chair of the Academy’s Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2010. Originally from Michigan, Patterson acquired a farm in West Marin where she learns about and applies sustainable agricultural practices. She received a Master’s of Public Health from Yale University.
Norman D. Penny
Dr. Penny, emeritus Senior Collection Manager of Entomology at the California Academy of Sciences, began his storied three-decade career at the Academy in the early 1980’s. Though his knowledge of entomology stretched far and wide, Penny was a renowned expert of scorpionflies (Mecoptera). During countless expeditions and thousands of Academy collections tours, Penny shared his good-humored zeal for entomology with students, visitors, volunteers, and his fellow researchers. Penny retired from his position in March 2016 but remained incredibly active both at the Academy and in the field. Penny passed away suddenly in July. His leadership, exploration, wealth of research contributions, and love for his vocation continue to inspire all who knew him.
The Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences is at the forefront of efforts to understand two of the most important topics of our time: the nature and sustainability of life on Earth. Based in San Francisco, the Institute is home to more than 100 world-class scientists, state-of-the-art facilities, and nearly 46 million scientific specimens from around the world. The Institute also leverages the expertise and efforts of more than 100 international Associates and 400 distinguished Fellows. Through expeditions around the globe, investigations in the lab, and analysis of vast biological datasets, the Institute’s scientists work to understand the evolution and interconnectedness of organisms and ecosystems, the threats they face around the world, and the most effective strategies for sustaining them into the future. Through innovative partnerships and public engagement initiatives, they also guide critical sustainability and conservation decisions worldwide, inspire and mentor the next generation of scientists, and foster responsible stewardship of our planet.