Douglas R. Green, Ph.D., of St. Jude elected to the National Academy of Sciences

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital immunologist recognized for his contribution to understanding the mechanism of cell death and survival

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Credit: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Douglas R. Green, Ph.D., chair of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Department of Immunology and Peter C. Doherty Endowed Chair of Immunology at St. Jude, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Green is one of 120 new members and 26 international members elected this year by the renowned society of scholars in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Green’s research focuses on the process of active cell death and cell survival, extending from the role of cell death in cancer regulation and immune responses in the whole organism to the molecular events directing the death of the cell. Currently one of the world’s most highly cited researchers, Green has published more than 600 papers, chapters, commentaries and books. The second edition of his book Means to an End: Apoptosis and Other Cell Death Mechanisms was published in 2018.

“Dr. Green’s election to the National Academy of Sciences is well-earned,” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and CEO. “He has dedicated his career to understanding the mechanisms of cell death and the broader realm of immunology–and his work has progressed understanding about how the body uses cell death to defend against diseases. These discoveries hold the promise of yielding strategies for unleashing the immune response against malignant cancers and chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. We are excited to see where Dr. Green’s research leads science in the coming years.”

Established in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership in the NAS for outstanding contributions to research. The organization is committed to furthering science in the United States, and its members are active contributors to the international scientific community. The National Academy of Sciences charter commits the Academy to provide scientific advice to the government “whenever called upon” by any government department.

“In addition to his remarkably impactful research, Dr. Green is passionate about helping other scientists succeed,” said Charles Roberts, M.D., Ph.D., St. Jude executive vice president and director of the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Under his leadership, our Cancer Biology Program has been re-visioned to foster greater scientific exchange and collaboration among members. He has also developed and led a quarterly grant-writing program designed to mentor and help junior faculty successfully obtain funding. His energy is inspiring.”

The 2020 National Academy of Sciences class brings the total number of active members to 2,403 and the total number of international members to 501. International members are nonvoting members of the Academy, with citizenship outside the United States.

“I am honored and humbled, more than words can properly express, to have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences,” Green said. “This would not have been possible without the incredible support of our leadership, our donors, my wonderful laboratory and my fantastic colleagues at St. Jude. Thank you from the top of my heart, because the bottom of my heart is too full.”

Prior to joining the St. Jude faculty in 2005, Green was at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. Today, in addition to his roles in the St. Jude Department of Immunology, Green serves as co-leader of the Cancer Biology Program in the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center. He graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. After training at MIT for a year, he returned to Yale to study immunology. He earned his Ph.D. from Yale in 1981.

Green is a recipient of many awards, including the Jürg Tschopp Prize for research on cell death (2017), the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal of the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association (2018) and the International Cell Death Society Prize (2009). He is an honorary fellow of Trinity College in Dublin, an honorary Einstein Professor in China, a foreign fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and an honorary Ph.D. degree recipient from University Tor Vergata in Rome.

Green joins Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty, Ph.D.; Martine Roussel, Ph.D.; Charles Sherr, M.D., Ph.D.; Brenda Schulman, Ph.D.; and Robert Webster, Ph.D. as St. Jude faculty who are members of the National Academy of Sciences. In addition, this marks the twelfth appointment of a St. Jude faculty member to the collective National Academies. Doherty; Sherr; William E. Evans, Pharm.D.; James Downing, M.D.; Mary Relling, Pharm.D.; and Arthur Nienhuis, M.D., have previously been elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.

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