A University of Wisconsin professor was elected Wednesday to a highly acclaimed national academy that honors schools working in scientific and engineering fields in honor of his research on campus.
The National Academy of Science is honoring Ching Kung for his research dealing with the sensory information of microbes. Kung found a way to monitor ion channels in paramecium, yeast and E. coli.
UW professor of genetics and molecular biology and NAS chair Michael Culbertson said he believes Kung’s area of research is a strong field of study at the university.
“Kung works in the broader field of neurobiology [and] genetics. UW genetics is particularly strong in this area,” Culbertson said in an email to The Badger Herald. “Kung has always been interested in molecular gadgets that control the flow of small ions in cells from outside to inside and between internal compartments.”
Becoming a member of NAS is a high honor bestowed upon a selected few, Culbertson said. While there are currently 2,113 members, the society added only 72 new members in 2011.
Culbertson said many universities feel honored to have just a few members appointed into NAS, but UW currently has five. UW professors and graduate students Jerry Yin, Barry Ganetzky, Aki Ikeda and Kate O’Conor-Giles have all become members of the society.
Kung said he feels honored to join the prestigious society and encourages others to look into his research and the purposes of organization.
“I am delighted and humbled,” Kung said.
In order to become a member of NAS, an individual has to be elected by an existing member. Once members are elected, the researchers are granted a number of opportunities to further their studies.
Culbertson said the expansion of opportunities presented to the scholars aids the university in its research opportunities.
“With five NAS members who could go anywhere to do their research but elect to stay here, it says something very positive about the department,” Culbertson said. “This codifies our long term strategy of hiring the right people and nurturing them to success. Kung is an example of that, having come to the UW at an early stage in his career in the 1970′s.”