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Goldberg elected to National Academy of Sciences

Recognized for work as renowned molecular parasitologist

by Elizabethe Holland DurandoMay 4, 2022

Matt Miller

Daniel E. Goldberg, MD, PhD, a renowned researcher in molecular parasitology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Election to the academy, which was announced May 3, is considered one of the highest honors that can be awarded to a U.S. scientist or engineer.

Goldberg, the David M. and Paula L. Kipnis Distinguished Professor, is a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases within the Department of Medicine, and a professor of molecular microbiology.

Goldberg’s work centers on the biochemistry of the parasite that causes malaria. More specifically, his research focuses on the proteins that are synthesized by the parasite, the enzymes that break down the host red blood cell hemoglobin, and different genes that can be targeted for drug therapy. His research seeks to improve the efficiency of treatment and to prevent initial infection.

Malaria, a life-threatening disease, is caused by a parasite that commonly infects a type of mosquito that then transfers the parasite to people. The World Health Organization estimated that in 2020, 241 million people were infected with malaria; of them, some 627,000 died, most of them children in Africa.

The Goldberg lab’s work involves a combination of biochemical, genetic, genomic, cell biological and physiological approaches aimed at understanding the biology of this nefarious organism.

Goldberg has served in many roles at the university, including as a past co-director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, director of the Medical Scientist Training Program, and as a member of the executive council of the Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences.

He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and the American Association of Physicians. His many honors include the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s prestigious C.C. and Alice Wang Award in Molecular Parasitology. He also was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator for 20 years.

Goldberg earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University before receiving his medical degree and doctorate at Washington University. He completed his residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a fellowship in infectious diseases at Washington University and a postdoctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University. He then returned to Washington University, where he was named professor in 1998.

The National Academy of Sciences announced 120 newly elected members in the U.S and 30 international members in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The total number of active members is now 2,512, and the total number of international members is 517. International associates are nonvoting members of the academy, with citizenship outside the United States.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,700 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is a leader in medical research, teaching and patient care, and currently is No. 4 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Elizabethe works with the science-writing and media relations teams within Medicine Marketing & Communications. She writes occasionally, including stories for Outlook magazine and the Record that took her to Bangladesh to cover faculty efforts to help Rohingya refugees. She is a former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Las Vegas Sun and the Northwest Florida Daily News, and she has taught journalism and/or writing courses at The Ohio State University, Lindenwood University and Webster University. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree in journalism from Ohio State.