Penn State scientists elected to National Academy of Sciences

University Park, Pa. -- Richard Alley, the Evan Pugh professor of geosciences, and Barry Marshall, the Francis R. and Helen M. Pentz Professor of Science, are the newest Penn State members of the National Academy of Sciences which announced the election of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from nine countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Election to the NAS is one of the highest honors for a scientist or engineer. The academy is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.

Alley has made prodigious contributions to our understanding of the stability of the ice sheets and glaciers of Antarctica and Greenland, and of erosion and sedimentation by this moving ice. Through the interpretation of paleoclimatic records from ice cores, Alley has examined their response to past and future climate change. He has provided evidence that large, abrupt global climate changes have occurred repeatedly in the Earth's history and has contributed to our understanding of the driving mechanisms of these changes.

Most recently, he is one of several Penn State earth scientists who were contributors to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Prize with Al Gore.

Alley has been awarded a Packard Fellowship, a Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Revelle Medal of the American Geophysical Union as well as Fellowship in the AGU, the first Agassiz Medal of the European Geosciences Union's Cryospheric Section and the Seligman Crystal of the International Glaciological Society. At Penn State, he received the Wilson Teaching Award and the Mitchell Innovative Teaching Award of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the Faculty Scholar Medal in Science and the Eisenhower Teaching Award.

Alley joined the faculty of Penn State in 1988 and was named Evan Pugh professor of geosciences in 2000. He has served on a variety of advisory panels and steering committees for targeted research activities, the National Science Foundation and professional societies including the congressionally mandated Antarctic External Review Panel and the Polar Research Board, and he has provided advice to numerous U.S. government officials in multiple administrations including a vice president, the president's science adviser, and several committees and individual members of the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives.

With more than 170 refereed papers, Alley also is the author of a popular book titled "The Two-Mile Time Machine," which was selected as the science book of the year by Phi Beta Kappa in 2001. He received his bachelor's degree in 1980 and his master's degree in 1983, both in geology from Ohio State University, and his doctoral degree in 1987 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Marshall, co-recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, conducted groundbreaking research in bacterial infections. His body of work led to the discovery of a previously undescribed bacteria, Helicobacter Pylori, in the human stomach, which ultimately led to proof of his theory that peptic ulcers were caused by this bacteria, and that patients with this bacteria also were at significant risk for developing stomach cancer.

His current research project is studying the molecular technology of Helicobacter to develop vaccines related to the bacteria or perhaps use some of the components of the bacteria itself as a vaccine.

He is associated with the University's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Eberly College of Science, the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Medicine, as well as with the multidisciplinary Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

His principal appointment is senior research fellow at the University of Western Australia's School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences.

Born in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Marshall received his medical education at the University of Western Australia and specialty physician training at Royal Perth Hospital, where he began research on a gastroenterology project under the supervision of his Nobel co-recipient, J. Robin Warren.

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Last Updated April 05, 2010