Election to the academy is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. With Wu’s election, Boston Children’s is now home to seven members of the academy.
“Dr. Wu’s election to the National Academy of Sciences is not only a milestone in her career—it’s a source of tremendous pride to the Boston Children’s Hospital community,” said Sandra L. Fenwick, Boston Children’s President and CEO. “It is an indication of the respect and admiration that she has earned from her peers, and of the significant impact of the work she has dedicated her life to.”
Wu, who is also the Asa and Patricia Springer Professor of Structural Biology and a professor of biological chemistry and molecular biology at Harvard Medical School, studies the physical shape and structure of the signaling molecules the immune system’s myriad components use to communicate among themselves.
In particular, Wu focuses on the innate immune system—those elements of immunity that first raise the alarm of an impending threat and mount a defense, regardless of the particular kind of invader (bacterium, virus, etc.). She has made seminal discoveries regarding signalosomes, large protein complexes that mediate the activity of many medically important immune pathways.
“Hao is a truly outstanding scientist, who combines brilliance and imagination with perseverance and thoroughness, and she is tremendously deserving to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences,” said PCMM director Frederick Alt, PhD, who himself was elected to the NAS in 1994. “All of us at PCMM are proud of Hao and truly delighted to have her as our colleague.”