PULLMAN, Wash.–Biochemists Rodney Croteau and Linda Randall of Washington State University have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the country’s most influential scientific organization.
They were among 60 new members selected today at the 134th annual meeting of the Academy and are the only new members from the Northwest. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer. There are now 1,773 active members.
Established in 1863 by an act of Congress, the Academy acts as an official adviser to the federal government on science and technology issues.
Croteau, Eisig-Tode Distinguished Professor and a Fellow of WSU’s Institute of Biological Chemistry, has been at WSU since 1973. He is a specialist in the biochemistry of plant products and recognized for his research into chemicals used in pharmaceuticals, flavors and fragrances.
He is credited with the recent isolation of a gene involved in taxol biosynthesis by the yew tree, important in treating cancer, and he has pioneered research on the defense mechanisms of conifers against bark beetles. Croteau was chosen to receive the WSU President’s Faculty Excellence Award for Research in 1992. He earned bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Massachusetts.
Randall is an authority on synthesis and export of proteins by bacteria. Her work is of basic interest to biomedical scientists and has implications for understanding hormone production, antibody secretion and immune function, and toxin production by bacteria.
A member of the WSU faculty since 1981, she was awarded the President’s Faculty Excellence Award for Research in 1988. Randall won the prestigious Eli Lilly Award in Microbiology and Immunology in 1984, recognizing research by an American Scientist under 40 years old. She received a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Colorado State University and a doctorate in molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin.
With today’s election, WSU now has six members in the National Academy of Sciences. Other members are C.A. “Bud” Ryan, biochemist; James Cook, plant pathologist; John Hirth, materials scientist; and Diter H. von Wettstein, plant geneticist.

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