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03/27/1998 08:00:00

Caltech Chemist, Alumnus Named To Institute of Medicine

PASADENA—Peter Dervan, chair of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, and David Ho, a Caltech trustee and graduate, have been elected members of the Institute of Medicine.

The two join 58 other professionals in the biomedical sciences and related fields who were elected this year. The Institute of Medicine, which was established in 1970 as a unit of the National Academy of Sciences, now has 558 active members.

Dervan, the Bren Professor of Chemistry at Caltech, has influenced the course of research in organic chemistry through his studies at the interface of chemistry and biology. His research is directed toward understanding the chemical principles involved in sequence-specific recognition of double helical DNA.

A native of Boston, Dervan earned his BS from Boston College in 1967, and his PhD from Yale University in 1972. He was a postdoctoral fellow for a year at Stanford, then joined the Caltech faculty in 1973. He belongs to the National Academy of Sciences and has received several scientific awards, including the Harrison-Howe Award in 1988, the Arthur C. Cope Award and the Willard Gibbs Medal in 1993, and the Nichols Medal in 1994.

Ho, a 1974 Caltech graduate, was named Time 's 1996 Man of the Year for his groundbreaking work on AIDS. He is currently director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, an affiliate of Rockefeller University. Ho has made significant progress in fighting the disease with his "cocktail" of antiviral drugs, whichTime reported might eventually lead to a cure.

After earning a degree in biology at Caltech, Ho graduated from Harvard Medical School. He has been an AIDS researcher since the mid-1980s.

Dervan and Ho will be formally inducted into the Institute of Medicine during the annual meeting, which is scheduled for October 12–13, 1998.

The Institute of Medicine "is concerned with the protection and advancement of the health professions and sciences, the promotion of research and development pertinent to health, and the improvement of health care."

Written by Robert Tindol