NICHD’s Alan Hinnebusch elected into National Academy of Sciences

Dr. Alan Hinnebusch

NICHD’s Alan Hinnebusch was elected into the National Academy of Sciences recently.

Dr. Hinnebusch studies yeast to gain insights into the circumstances under which the information contained in a gene is ultimately translated into a protein.  He is best known for the discovery that, in response to environmental stress conditions, cells control which genetic information is translated into proteins. Under such conditions, fewer proteins are produced overall, but production of certain proteins with key roles in the stress response is stepped up. These opposing effects are triggered by modification of a single factor that governs all protein synthesis in the cell. Other researchers since have employed this concept to understand learning and memory in mammals.

Currently, Dr. Hinnebusch serves as the Chief of NICHD’s Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Development, and Director, Program in Cellular Regulation and Metabolism.

Election to National Academy of Sciences, an organization of the country’s leading researchers that promotes outstanding science and provides science-based advice on critical issues affecting the nation, is considered one of the highest honors a scientist can receive.

Dr. Hinnebusch received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, in 1975 and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1980.  He joined the NICHD as a Senior Staff Fellow in 1983 and became Chief of the Laboratory of Eukaryotic Gene Regulation in 1995.  In 2000, he was appointed as Chief of the Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Development and Head of the Section on Nutrient Control of Gene Regulation.  In 2007, he was named Head of the Program in Cellular Regulation and Metabolism.  Investigators in the PCRM apply a combination of genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, and structural biology to elucidate the molecular basis of processes important in cell biology or animal development.

Dr. Hinnebusch’s lab employs a combination of genetics and biochemistry to dissect molecular mechanisms of transcriptional and translational gene regulation using the regulation of amino acid–biosynthetic genes in budding yeast as a model system. He has published more than 200 research articles in peer-reviewed journals and more than 50 review articles and book chapters pertaining to his field of research.  In 1994 he was named Maryland's Outstanding Young Scientist and was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.  In 2009 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute's website at

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