Wayne M. Yokoyama, MD, and Charles F. Zorumski, MD, have been elected to the Institute of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences. The two were among 70 members so honored based on their contributions to advancing public health, health care and medical science.
Yokoyama is the Sam J. Levin and Audrey Loew Levin Professor of Research in Arthritis and professor of medicine and of pathology and immunology. In 2007, he became director of the Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University.
Also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a rheumatologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Yokoyama is known internationally for his research on the immune system, especially into the workings of natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells monitor the “credentials” of cells in the body, targeting for elimination those that lack the proper identification, such as tumor cells and those infected with viruses.
Zorumski is the Samuel B. Guze Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobiology and head of the Department of Psychiatry. He also serves as psychiatrist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and director of the McDonnell Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology. His work focuses on neuron communication in the brain, especially in the hippocampus, and on understanding how neurotransmitters and neuromodulators facilitate learning and memory.
His work studying anesthetic drugs led to the recent formation of the Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research. Under Zorumski’s leadership, the goal of the institute is to understand the roles of natural and synthetic neurosteroid molecules in psychiatric illnesses like depression and schizophrenia, and to identify neurosteroid targets that could lead to new therapies.