Olufunmilayo F. Olopade Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Five University of Chicago scholars have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, joining other scientists and researchers chosen in “recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

Professor Olufunmilayo F. Olopade is among the 120 new members elected this year. The class includes 59 women, the most to join the National Academy of Sciences in a single year. Also included in the April 26 announcement was the addition of 30 international non-voting members.

Olufunmilayo Falusi Olopade is the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics and the founding director of the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics and Global Health. She specializes in cancer risk assessment and individualized management for the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. Olopade is recognized as a pioneer in cancer genetics, and her contributions have shed light on the origins and heterogeneity of breast cancer in diverse populations across the African Diaspora. Her laboratory was the first to describe recurrent BRCA1 mutations in extended African-American families with breast and ovarian cancers, underscoring the need for at-risk women to receive genetic counseling, testing, and screening at younger ages. 

Olopade has received a multitude of awards and honors for her work, including honorary degrees from several universities, the Franklin Roosevelt Freedom From Want Medal, Officer of the Order of the Niger designation, a MacArthur Fellowship, and an Order of Lincoln Award—the state of Illinois’ highest honor for professional achievement and public service. She is also an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Medicine.

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