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Two Appointed to Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Professor Helen Margaret Blau, Professor John Francis McEldowney

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Pope Francis on November 4, 2017, appointed two new members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:

  • Professor Helen Margaret Blau, lecturer in cellular microbiology and director of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biologyat Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America.
  • Professor John Francis McEldowney, lecturer in law at the University of Warwick Faculty of Law, Great Britain.

Professor Helen Margaret Blau
Professor Blau was born in London in 1948. After receiving a B.A. from the University of York, she obtained an M.A. and a research doctorate from Harvard University (1975). She is lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology of the University of Stanford, of which she has been appointed director and where, since 2002, she has served as director of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology.
Professor Blau’s discovery of the reversibility of the state of cellular differentiation has highlighted the plasticity of cells, demonstrating that cell differentiation requires a continuous regulation system and that a change in the stoichiometry of the transcription factors induces a reprogramming of the cell nucleus. This discovery is the basis of the concept of induction of a pluripotent stem cell.
Professor Blau has received various awards, such as the FASEB Excellence in Science Award (1999) and the AACR-Irving-Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship (2011), and she has been appointed as a member of various institutions, including the National Academy of Sciences (2016). She is also known for her constant support of women in science and for the formation of leaders in the field of muscular biology and regenerative medicine.
Professor John Francis McEldowney
Professor McEldowney was born in 1953 and graduated from the University of Cambridge. He specialized in common law, human rights and financial law, and is a lecturer in law, in particular public law and legal history, at the Faculty of Law of the University of Warwick, and vice president of the “Study of the Parliament Group”.
In 2000 he was a Visiting Fellow at the Supreme Court of Venezuela and in 2001 he was elected as Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the New Zealand Law Foundation. In 2004 he gave the tenth “High Fitzpatrick Lecture” on “Biography and Bibliography” at Kings Inns, Dublin, Ireland. He has been appointed as visiting professor in universities in Japan and France. In 2004 he received a “Medal of Honor” from the University of Lille.
He has worked as an external examiner for various universities, including the Open University. Professor McEldowney made a notable contribution to the research carried out by the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution on the Parliamentary project on the European Constitution in 2002-2003, and on the legislative process in 2003-2004. He is currently working on a new book on environmental law.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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