Two University of Chicago researchers elected to National Academy of Medicine

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University of Chicago faculty members Melody Swartz and Holly J. Humphrey have been elected members of the National Academy of Medicine—one of the highest honors in the field.

Swartz, the William B. Ogden Professor of Molecular Engineering at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, was honored for “pioneering contributions” to the fields of lymphatic physiology, cancer research and immunotherapy. She holds a joint appointment in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research and is co-founder of the Chicago Immunoengineering Innovation Center.

Swartz’s research focuses on gaining a deeper understanding of how the lymphatic system regulates immunity in homeostasis and disease, particularly in cancer and chronic inflammation. Her lab applies this knowledge to develop novel immunotherapeutic approaches to cancer, including lymph node-targeting vaccines. Her quantitative and interdisciplinary approach draws on bioengineering, immunobiology, physiology, cell biology and biomechanics.

Swartz’s many honors include a MacArthur Fellowship (2012), as well as her election to the National Academy of Arts and Sciences (2018).

Humphrey, the Ralph W. Gerard Emeritus Professor in Medicine at the University, is currently president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. The academy honored Humphrey, MD’83, for “transforming medical education learning environments by creating cultures of equity, diversity, and belonging that prepare future health professionals to care for diverse populations and address social determinants of health.”

Following an internal medicine residency, pulmonary and critical care fellowship, and chief residency at the University of Chicago, she served for 14 years as director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program. During her tenure as dean for medical education, her signature programs focused on equity, diversity and inclusion, mentoring, and professionalism.

She is also the chair of the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine’s Board of Directors, chair emeritus of the American Board of Internal Medicine and of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, and a past president of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine.

Established originally as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine, and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

New members are elected by current members through a process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health. A diversity of talent among NAM’s membership is assured by its Articles of Organization, which stipulate that at least one-quarter of the membership is selected from fields outside the health professions — for example, from such fields as law, engineering, social sciences, and the humanities.

“This distinguished and diverse class of new members is a truly exceptional group of scholars and leaders whose expertise in science, medicine, health, and policy will be integral to helping the NAM address today’s most pressing health challenges and inform the future of health and health care for the benefit of everyone around the globe,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau.