Former UI faculty member elected to Academy of Sciences

Harris Lewin, a former University of Illinois faculty member, was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Lewin, an emeritus faculty member in the UI's Department of Animal Sciences and founding director of the Institute for Genomic Biology, is now vice chancellor for research at the University of California at Davis.

Lewin's research is in comparative mammalian genomics and immunogenetics. Election to the academy is one of the highest professional honors a scientist can receive.

"As a faculty colleague since his arrival on the Illinois campus 27 years ago, I am absolutely delighted that Harris has been selected for this recognition," said Robert Easter, president-designate of the University of Illinois, in a written release. "It is a wonderful honor for him and for the University of Illinois."

Lewin's research has advanced the understanding of mammalian chromosome evolution. He led research that showed that different parts of the genome have different evolutionary histories and that areas of the chromosome more prone to breakage are a rich source of genetic variation.

"Harris's involvement in sequencing both the bovine and swine genomes has placed the University of Illinois in a unique position to be an international leader in functional genomics of these major food-producing animals," said Neal Merchen, head of the Department of Animal Sciences, in a release.

Lewin served as the IGB director for eight years before leaving last year for UC Davis.

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