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WSU Research National Academy Members


National academy members

Scholars recognized worldwide for seeking innovative answers to the world’s toughest challenges

Only the most distinguished experts in their fields are elected to the National Academies. Membership represents one of the nation’s highest honors for academic researchers.

Each academy enlists the nation’s top scientists, engineers, and other experts as volunteers to study specific concerns and inform public policy decisions. Their work has inspired some of America’s most significant and lasting efforts to improve the health, education, and welfare of the population.

James Asay

Research professor emeritus and former associate director, Institute for Shock Physics

  • Expertise: Shock-wave research and high-pressure science
  • Landmark discoveries: Led the development of pulsed power techniques for magnetically compressing materials to very high pressures. These techniques have led to experimental capabilities for accurate equation-of-state measurements at pressures unachievable with conventional methods.
  • Elected to the National Academy of Engineering, 2003

Anjan Bose

Regents professor, School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

  • Expertise: Power/energy systems
  • Landmark achievements: Made breakthroughs in technology used to operate and control the electric power grid that are in industrial practice today. Dr. Bose developed better computer controls for electric generation and transmission systems to avoid blackouts. He also created the real-time computer simulator that is used to train power grid operators all over the world.
  • Elected to the National Academy of Engineering, 2003

R. James Cook

Professor emeritus, plant pathology and crop and soil sciences

  • Expertise: Plant, soil, and microbial sciences, focusing on biological control of plant pathogens and health management of wheat
  • Landmark achievements: Led the team that discovered the nature of suppressive soils that limit the growth of certain plant pathogens. Provided solutions to control different groups of soil-borne pathogens. Also led the research team that made the first field test of a genetically modified organism in the Pacific Northwest, which was a microorganism for root disease control on wheat.
  • Elected to the National Academy of Sciences, 1993

Rodney Croteau

Professor emeritus, Institute of Biological Chemistry

  • Expertise: Biochemistry, focusing on plant sciences
  • Landmark achievements: Isolated genes involved in the biosynthesis of Taxol, important in treating cancer. Dr. Croteau has also pioneered research on the defense mechanisms of conifers against bark beetles.
  • Elected to the National Academy of Sciences, 1997

John P. Hirth

Professor emeritus, materials engineering

  • Expertise: Materials science and engineering
  • Landmark achievements: Influential in development of theories that form the basis of much of our current understanding of materials and how they behave. Dr. Hirth is known chiefly for his work on the theory of dislocation, or defects in the crystalline structures of solids; and hydrogen trapping and hydrogen embrittlement of high-performance steels, a serious problem in materials engineering. He also is well known for his theoretical work on evaporation and condensation activity on solids, and has helped define the kinetics of solid-state phase transformations.
  • Elected to the National Academy of Sciences, 1994
    Elected to the National Academy of Engineering, 1974

Terry McElwain

Regents professor emeritus, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, and executive director, Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory

  • Expertise: Detection of and response to infectious diseases of public health significance
  • Landmark achievements: An international expert in building capacity for disease surveillance, he led integration of public health and animal health laboratories to improve detection of and coordinated response to emerging infectious diseases.
  • Elected to the National Academy of Medicine, 2009

Guy Palmer

Regents professor, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, and senior director of global health

  • Expertise: Global health; emergence and control of infectious diseases
  • Landmark achievements: Uncovered key molecular mechanisms that drive microbial pathogen persistence and transmission in infectious disease epidemiology.  These include the seminal discovery of NF-kB regulation by an infectious parasite and the current model of gene conversion in pathogen antigenic variation
  • Elected to the National Academy of Medicine, 2006

Diter von Wettstein

R.A. Nilan Distinguished Professor, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences

  • Expertise: Plant biology, focusing on plant genetics
  • Landmark achievements: Genetically modified barley to produce a cultivar that lacks the flower color-related compound proanthocyanidin in the grain. Called Radiant, the cultivar substantially reduced beer production costs by eliminating the need for a clarification process.
  • Elected to the National Academy of Sciences, 1981

In memoriam

Leo Bustad

Dean, WSU College of Veterinary Medicine

  • Expertise: Veterinary medicine, focusing on the human-animal bond
  • Landmark achievements: Pioneer in the study of human-animal interaction, whose work significantly contributed to the understanding of the role of companion animals in Western societies. His work inspired people around the world to bring humans and animals together for therapy, service, and companionship.
  • Elected to the National Academy of Medicine, 1988

Clarence A. “Bud” Ryan, Jr.

Charlotte Y. Martin Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Plant Physiology

  • Expertise: Biochemistry, focusing on plant sciences
  • Landmark achievements: The “innate immune response” of plants: how plants defend themselves against insect attack, including discovery of the first peptide hormone known in plants
  • Elected to the National Academy of Sciences, 1986
Washington State University